US help in transporting wounded, dead SAF troops a “big joke”, says priest

Jan. 30, 2015
Credits: Fr. Eliseo Mercado's Facebook account

Credits: Fr. Eliseo Mercado’s Facebook account

DAVAO CITY – A Cotabato City-based priest described as a “big joke” the supposed help extended by American troops and helicopters to evacuate police’s elite commandos wounded and killed in an operation against a high-value target of the US government.

“The more plausible one is to evacuate the rumored one US fallen and another wounded that necessitated a helicopter pronto to hide their own and actual participation in the botched operation,” said Fr. Eliseo “Jun” Mercado in a Facebook post afternoon of Thursday.

A covert operation of the police’s Special Action Force to capture wanted terrorists Abdulbasit Usman and Zulkipli Bin Hir or Abu Marwan in Barangay Tukanalipao, Mamasapano, Maguindanao last January 25 resulted to the death of 44 SAF personnel and the wounding of 16 others including three civilians.

In the aftermath, US troops aboard a Bell helicopter were seen on television hauling what seems to be wounded SAF troops and persons not yet identified by police authorities.

Usman and Marwan were both wanted by the US Department of State and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Under the FBI’s “Rewards for Justice Program”, Marwan has a $5 million (P300 million) reward and Usman, $2 million (P100 million).

Describing from photos from the same Facebook post, Fr. Mercado said “(t)he other 4 (four) US special forces were NOT hauling bodies and wounded.

“They were there in what appears getting specimen of the fallen for DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) testing to ascertain whether Marwan and Basit are among the fallen,” said Fr. Mercado.

Bayan Muna Partylist Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate shares Fr. Mercado’s view and said that the “US must also be made accountable for this botched counter-terror operations as it again placed Mindanao in the brink of strife and division.”

Zarate said that it is “unbelievable that the armed elements JSOTFP (Joint Special Task Force Philippines) of the US were in Shariff Aguak only to help in the evacuation of the wounded.”

“It is very likely that they were in fact the ones directing the whole operations as part of their long time project to get Marwan and Usman,” he said.

According to a television report wherein a picture of what appears to be Marwan was killed during the SAF operation.

The same report quoted police officials that Marwan’s DNA was sent to the US for confirmation.

Fr. Mercado said he would also ask where President Benigno Simeon Aquino was during the “arrival honors” for the slain SAF commandos.

“I thought the President would meet the bodies of the slain SAF at Villamor this morning. He called them heroes. But the President was nowhere during the honors given at the bodies of the slain SAF.Where was he?” asked Mercado in an earlier post in Facebook.

Aquino earned the ire of netizens as he instead attended the inauguration of a Japanese car manufacturer in Laguna.

In social media site Twitter, the hashtag #nasaanangpangulo (where is the President) trended at the top rank worldwide.

Eliseo said the “absence of the President at the arrival honors for the slain SAF members is beyond any explanation.”

“The rage of people is further fueled by his absence at the arrival honors and statements considering his direct role in the botched operation. Tsk tsk tsk,” said Mercado.(

comments powered by Disqus