Napenas also confirmed that the units involved in the operation were trained by a combination of US military and JSOTF members.
When Enrile asked whether the CIA participated in Exodus, Napenas said the name of the agency was “never mentioned” but added that because intelligence was involved, it was “likely” that personnel from the spy agency were also involved.
“The testimonies of various resource persons, particularly during the executive hearings, provide indications that the US had significant participation in Oplan Exodus,” the executive summary of the Senate report read.
“The DFA emphasized that 'the only constitutionally restricted activity in Philippine cooperation with the US under existing agreements is that, they (US) may not and have not, in the case of Mamasapano either, engage in combat operations and which non-participation (of the Americans) in combat was affirmed by PDIR Napeñas,” the report said.
“This is something that the government must explain,” why it allowed “a police matter to include US participation,” he added.
The US ambassador cited as an example the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) between the Philippines and the US that shows what cooperation can do for both countries.
“My understanding, if you read the [VFA], it is a government to government agreement, it’s not between the militaries [of the US and the Philippines], that deals with treatment and conduct of our forces in each other countries and that’s what the essence of what the DFA [Department of Foreign Affairs] is all about, it doesn’t deal with the agenda of what our cooperation will be,” Goldberg said.
And the whole political exercise only took place just after the US-Philippine relationship had navigated a risky shoal. On January 12, 2016, the Philippine Supreme Court by a 10-4 vote confirmed that the “Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement” with the United States (signed on US behalf by Ambassador Goldberg) did not require any messy ratification by the Philippine Senate. The EDCA dodges some pretty categorical language in the Philippine constitution prohibiting permanent foreign military bases by permitting the Philippine government to give to the US military the right to operate free of charge “Agreed Locations” that can host “rotated” i.e. not permanent US military personnel and stock them with various logistical goodies but not nuclear weapons. Pretty much the only shoe left to drop is a formal return to Subic Bay, which already sees dozens of port calls from the US Navy each year. And I expect that may happen soon enough.
And also zero public convo about any shortcomings of American attention, planning, and advice, or what they might imply for Filipino lives and interests as America's best and brightest a.k.a. the Sith Lords of the Pivot prepare to lead the Philippines into a prolonged struggle with the People's Republic of China. Taking into account the US role in Mamasapano and the fact that as a result the Mindanao peace process is on indefinite hiatus, one could argue that friendly fire from the US pivot to Asia is damaging Philippine interests in ways the PRC can only dream of.
It's not just that US intel, advising, and support pervaded the Mamasapano fiasco. Marwan was a US target with a US bounty on his head. Judging from the circumstances surrounding the order to conduct the operation, given by President Aquino without the knowledge of his Cabinet and outside the normal chain of command, it looks like he was obliging Ambassador Goldberg in setting up a risky, compartmentalized op. As compensation, it seems there was the promise he would be basking in some personal political glory at the airport in Zamboanga when Marwan was brought in.
Instead, all Aquino got was Marwan's finger and 44 body bags holding the remains of his own troopers. He may spend the rest of his life battling the consequences, legal and otherwise, for that decision. And his successors will have to deal with the fact that the US expects and demands its own direct channel into Malacanang Palace as the price of the alliance.
It appears that after a twenty five-year hiatus, the US has successfully re-embedded itself in the Philippines: not only basing rights but deep penetration into the Philippine security, civilian, and political spheres, as well as military.