Possible participation of US in ‘Oplan Exodus’ is not priority in DOJ probe — De Lima

By , on February 17, 2015

MAGUINDANAO PROVINCE, PHILIPPINES – JANUARY 26: Policemen carry the body of their comrade during a retrieval operation on January 26, 2015 in Mamasapano, Maguindanao Province, Philippines. Dozens of elite policemen were killed after a clash with a Muslim rebel group. Lawmen would suppose serve the arrest warrants on January 25, 2015 for criminals led by Malaysian bomb maker Zulkifli bin Hir, known in military and police officials as Marwan, when the group clashed with the guerillas under Commander Guiawan of Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters, a breakaway group of the Moro Islamic Liberation, the countrys largest rebel group engaged in peace talks with Manila. The death toll of government fatalities in the fierce firefight reached fifty. (Photo by Jeoffrey Maitem/Getty Images)

MANILA — Department of Justice (DOJ) Secretary Leila M. De Lima on Monday said that the information about the alleged participation of the United States in “Oplan Exodus” is not a priority of the DOJ in its ongoing investigation of the Mamasapano clash.

The incident claimed the lives of 44 Philippine National Police-Special Action Force (PNP-SAF) commandos who were on a mission to arrest Malaysian terrorist Zulkifli bin Hir alias “Marwan” and Filipino bomb maker Abdul Basit Usman.

According to De Lima, as of now, the DOJ-National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) special investigation team is still focused on the incident itself and determine whoever may be criminally charged.

De Lima said that although the angle of possible participation of the United States in the operation cannot be avoided to be looked into, it is also necessary to weigh whether it has effect in the criminal aspect of the Mamasapano clash.

She added that the DOJ-NBI special investigation team has already prepared a list of possible cases and violations of the laws which may be filed in connection with the bloody incident.

Among these are violations under the Revised Penal Code (RPC) and special laws such as Republic Act No. 9851 or the “Philippine Act on Crimes against Humanity”, and the Human Security Act.