The 5 million (for a terrorist’s finger)-dollar question | Inquirer Opinion

The 5 million (for a terrorist’s finger)-dollar question

12:03 AM March 01, 2016

THE LAST Senate hearing on the Mamasapano debacle was a “dud,” thus the Inquirer’s Jan. 29 editorial opined.

We slightly disagree. While no “earthshaking” testimony or evidence was offered during the hearing, the “command responsibility” of President Aquino, chief executive and commander in chief, was further buttressed and firmly established. The acts, faults and incompetence of Police Director Getulio Napeñas and Director General Alan Purisima, both his alter egos were, legally, those of the President!


The question of Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile was: By what treaty or authority was the US participation justified in “Oplan Exodus?” The lives of 44 SAF (Special Action Force) policemen, 17 Moro rebels and three civilians were lost. Enrile stressed that the involvement of Americans was not warranted because the SAF was engaged in operations relating to our criminal law, which was generally territorial or domestic.

Napeñas, head of the SAF, lamely admitted that the Americans trained SAF forces for “Oplan Exodus,” and that there was a “PH-US joint action force” in Mindanao for the “War on Terror.”


A day after the Senate hearing, Senate President Frank Drilon’s answer to Senator Enrile was headlined by the Inquirer: “US violated no treaty” (Front Page, 1/31/16). And who cared? After all, only Filipinos died; only our sovereignty, domestic law and integrity as a people were transgressed!

The United States paid (or promised to pay) $5 million for a severed finger of Marwan, allegedly a Malaysian terrorist. So Oplan Exodus really meant, “We (Americans) pay; you (Filipinos) get Marwan for us (and die)!”

Did the SAF or Marwan’s aide kill the terrorist for the money, in effect making them all mercenaries? And why was Marwan in a Moro Islamic Liberation Front lair?

It’s painfully funny. We recall that during the term of former president Gloria Arroyo, a terrorist (Al Ghozi) was killed and his body was reportedly preserved (also as a prize for a price) to be viewed by a visiting high-ranking US official, in relation, again, with America’s War on Terror.

This zombie-like pro-Americanism found its roots in former president Manuel Roxas’ foreign policy—“to follow in the glistening wake of America.” Indeed, our Filipino leaders have followed, zigging and zagging according to how America zigs and zags in foreign relations.

President Aquino has given US President Barack Obama the Philippine-United States Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement helping America advance its “pivot” in the Asia-Pacific region, with the Philippines wantonly paying for “locations” (bases) to house American “troops” and “facilities.” On foreign policy, President Aquino may yet get the “Kalabasa Award” as the worst president our hapless country has ever had.

—NELSON D. LAVIÑA, retired ambassador, Nlaviñ[email protected]

Read Next
Don't miss out on the latest news and information.

Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.

TAGS: feedback, hearing, letter, Mamasapano, Marwan, opinion, Oplan Exodus, SAF, SAF 44, terrorist
For feedback, complaints, or inquiries, contact us.

© Copyright 1997-2022 | All Rights Reserved

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.