MANILA — Senator Antonio Trillanes IV on Tuesday clarified that he did not violate Senate rules when he divulged the supposed confidential information regarding the Mamasapano incident.
Trillanes said his information did not come from the Senate executive sessions but from the Philippine Army (PA) officials whom he talked to after Senator Grace Poe released the committee report last week.
”I have not violated (Senate rules). I talked to them (Army officials) outside the executive session and they allowed me to disclose to the public these information,” he said.
According to the Senate rules, any senator who will disclose the sensitive information discussed in an executive session without approval from fellow senators may face expulsion as Senate member.
”The issue here is whether true or not the information I revealed is material to what really happened (in the Mamasapano),” Trillanes said.
The senator also clarified that the Philippine National Police (PNP)-Special Action Force (SAF) officials did not deliberately intoxicate the Army officials so that soldiers will not be able to respond to the Oplan Exodus.
”They were not intoxicated so that they will not be able to respond but they have been invited in a dinner with some drinks. The commanders have been invited and their objective is to make sure that they have no appointments the next day,” Trillanes clarified.
Instead of blaming the Army and President Benigno Aquino III for the botched mission, the senator said, the SAF should investigate why the other 120 SAF troopers were not able to help the 55th and 84th SAF units who encountered the combined forces of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) on January 25.
”According to the Oplan Exodus, these 120 troopers beside the river should come close but they did not. They did not follow the order of Gen. (Getulio) Napenas. Whatever the reason, they should explain,” he said.
Trillanes said he received information that when the firefight started at 6:00 in the morning, there were only 20 MILF and BIFF forces but the 120 SAF troopers did not come to rescue their comrades belonging to 55th and 84th units.
”We are diverting the issue. They are blaming others that the Army did not fire artillery, that President did nothing. But it’s all in their hands, they have plans, they have mission. They have advantage over their opponents. They did not help their comrades,” he said.
Trillanes maintained that the Mamasapano incident was a legitimate encounter where the 55th and 84th SAF units have been overran and some of them have been executed by their opponents.
The 392-member SAF team carried out the Oplan Exodus and was able to neutralize international terrorist Zulkifli bin Hir alias “Marwan”.
However, an 11-hour hour firefight has resulted in the killing of 44 SAF commandos.