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March 23, 2015

It’s  the biggest mystery of all about the Mamasapano massacre.  The call for help was made early in the morning.   Yet it took all of ten hours before rescue came, when all of the SAF 44 were already dead.  Why?

As it turns out, efforts to save the ceasefire with the MILF played a major role.

(A source) said that earlier in the day, (Maj. Gen. Edmundo Pangilinan, commander of the Army’s 6th Infantry Division) actually considered using artillery, but Brig. Gen. Charlie Galvez, head of the government’s Coordinating Committee on the Cessation of Hostilities (CCCH), pleaded with him to hold fire as the ceasefire teams were trying their best to reach both the SAF and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

Pangilinan gave Galvez five minutes to finish the coordination.

“It was the longest five minutes for all of us,” the source said.

Galvez returned to Pangilinan with the information that all parties involved in calling for a ceasefire, including the International Monitoring Team, were already moving to stop the fighting.

Around noon, the source said, there was no longer contact with the 55th SAC and the ceasefire was already in place.

-from here.

Why no rescue,  AFP Chief Gregorio Catapapang Jr. explains it’s because of the ceasefire.

The Armed Forces [could not]  join the firefight because of the ceasefire agreement. That will destroy the entire ceasefire agreement and that will be like a bushfire that will spread up to Lanao and the entire peace talks with our Muslim brothers will fail,” Catapang said.

If they had joined the fighting, there could have been “a state of war” already, he added.

What should be verified was the claim there was a US Drone facility inside the AFP Wesmincom base and that the President was actually monitoring the event live there and was getting advice from peace adviser Teresita Deles.

The source said Aquino monitored the Mamasapano encounter inside the United States (US) Drone command facility at the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Western Mindanao Command (Wesmincom) base in Zamboanga City.

Westmincom, which is under Lt. Gen. Rustico Guerrero, is located inside Camp Navaro. It is also used by the US military as a temporary base where the drone command facility is situated.

Aquino, the source said, monitored the mission through a live feed transmitted by a drone, which means that the President is well aware of what was happening to the SAF men.

There were reports that drones were seen in Mamasapano prior to, and during, the SAF operation to get Marwan.

The source said some members of the security, justice and peace clusters of the Cabinet were with the president.

Despite being fully aware of the massacre of SAF commandos, the President gave no order for reinforcements because he was reminded about the ongoing peace negotiations between the government and the MILF, and sending reinforcements may lead to the breakdown of talks.

…the source said it was Presidential Peace Adviser Teresita Deles who reminded Aquino about the peace negotiations.

The difficult question is: was it wrong to withhold rescue to save the peace negotiations?

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