Oplan Exodus last year, Oplan Moses this year

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I haven’t heard such a case even in the most imaginative crime movie or novel. Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency operatives surveil an apartment for days, based on information that it is a shabu factory or at least a stockroom for the ingredients to manufacture it. Near to giving up that no one is going to the apartment—and therefore no drug operator will be caught—two men enter it, with a key which is what you have if you own or rent an apartment.

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The man with the key turns out to be Marine Lt. Col. Ferdinand Marcelino, and his companion was a Chinese national Yan Yi Shou, who used to be a PDEA interpreter. Found in the apartment which Marcelino opened with his key were ingredients and equipment for manufacturing 76 kilos of shabu, which the PDEA claimed was worth P383 million (where do they get those precise figures?).

Marcelino claimed he is on a top-secret mission under the Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (ISAFP). He is caught on camera in near tears, saying melodramatic things, that “this is the price I pay for loving my country.” He even hinted he was being framed by shadowy drug lords, as he has been effective in pursuing them. “Rest assured that I will never betray this nation,” he said as if he was captured by foreign operatives, and not by a Filipino anti-illegal drug unit.

He even announced to the whole world the code name for his secret mission, “Oplan Exodus.” Familiar-sounding name? Read on.

What is strange is that the ISAFP and the military top brass haven’t expressed the kind of support — and even outrage at his treatment like a common criminal — one would expect them to do to defend their own, a “mistah” even, especially one who claims he has the passion to serve the country yet whom the PDEA seems intent on prosecuting on illegal-drug charges that carry life-sentence penalties.

The ISAFP chief himself, Maj. Gen. Arnold Quiapo, sounded as if he were denying Marcelino’s claims, saying the officer is no longer connected with his unit. As if an ISAFP is a unit of another armed forces, he merely told reporters: “Ask the Navy as he was assigned to the Philippine Navy Officer’s Candidate School.”

AFP chief Gen. Hernando Iriberri on the other hand reportedly told Interior Secretary Mel Senen Sarmiento that he has not authorized Marcelino to conduct anti-drug operations.

It wasn’t the ISAFP, but merely a letter by one Lt. Col. Marlo Guloy claiming to be Group Commander of “Army Intelligence Service Group” which vouched for Marcelino — but only to a very limited extent. In his letter Jan. 22 he wrote:

Crying colonels, laughing bosses: Left above, Col. Napeñas who led Oplan Exodus January last year. Right, above: Col. Marcelino who led, according to him, Oplan Moses. Below allegedly their bosses.

Crying colonels, laughing bosses: Left above, Col. Napeñas who led Oplan Exodus January last year. Right, above: Col. Marcelino who led, according to him, Oplan Moses. Below allegedly their bosses.

“This is to certify that LTC Ferdinand Marcelino has shared intelligence information to this unit from November to December 2015 with regards to suspected Philippine Army personnel engaged in the use of drugs and other illegal drug activities in consonance to the GHO Directive on AFP Task Force Moses and PA Task Group Midas.” For a case that involves a life sentence for Col. Marcelino, Guloy ended his certification in the bureaucratic manner. “This certification is being issued for whatever legal purpose it may serve.” (Emphasis mine)

It was obviously not enough to confirm Marcelino’s claims of high-level anti-drug operations. First, he merely “shared intelligence information,” which any gossip could claim he does. It didn’t say Marcelino was assigned to undertake secret operations against drug lords.

Secondly, and quite suspiciously, the letter in effect said that the unit’s relationship with Marcelino was only for two months, November and December 2015. So obviously, his arrest by the PDEA on January 22 was not while he was undertaking a mission ordered by the Army Intelligence Group or any other military unit.

But is Guloy really the commander of the Army Intelligence Service Group? I could not find any announcement that he was appointed to that post. His only recent published appointment was in 2013 as commander of the 46th Infantry Battalion of the 8th Infantry Division, based in Maguindanao. Guloy must be an interesting or a tragic officer. The last time he was in the news was when he was court-martialed for allegedly molesting a Philippine Military Academy classmate’s wife in 2008. He was acquitted though in 2010.

Oplans Exodus and Moses
What’s going on? Cliché it is, but still no phrase can describe this very stupid state of affairs: “Only in the Philippines.” Can you imagine the US Drug Enforcement Agency capturing a US Marine colonel in a shabu factory?

In the first place, what was a Marine colonel doing in an operation that is entirely a police matter, and even the field of work of a specialized agency, PDEA? Doesn’t the Marine Corps have enough Islamic and NPA terrorists to pursue and terminate?

I had always thought that Marine Corps anywhere in the world are trained for the harshest form of open warfare, as in amphibious behind-the-lines assaults or jungle operations versus guerillas. But Marcelino, it seems, was operating almost entirely in the city, where his specialized warfare training is totally useless.

Ever since President Aquino assumed office, it’s been a topsy-turvy world indeed. There was an operation that went deep into the guerrilla zones of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and other breakaway Islamic gangs to terminate two international terrorists on January 25 last year.

It was called “Oplan Exodus”, and it wasn’t the Marines nor the Army Special Forces that got engaged in positional warfare, but police commandos, who were massacred after their ammunition ran out and the Army and Marines refused to rescue them, allegedly upon Aquino’s “stand-down” orders.

Now its “Oplan Moses”, and I don’t need to be a biblical scholar to tell you with authority that it was Moses who led the Exodus, so that it’s quite a coincidence for these two oplans to be code-named with related words.

This time, what is supposed to be an operation against the biggest drug lords, and therefore by the police and the PDEA, is being undertaken — or led — by a Marine colonel.

If Marcelino’s claims are accurate, the PDEA and the Philippine National Police weren’t aware of his intelligence operations. In the case of Oplan Exodus, it was the Army and Marines who weren’t informed of the police operations.

Is this another cockamamie scheme of this stupid, desperate president to play general and attempt to lead a big illegal-drug operation, without informing the institutions authorized to undertake such operations?

Indeed, former PDEA Director Dionisio Santiago, a former AFP chief of staff, had reported on the day of Marcelino’s arrest that the Marine colonel had directly reported, as an operative of the Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Commission last year, to Executive Secretary and PAOC chairman Paquito Ochoa. “Sometimes, Colonel Marcelino also reported directly to President Aquino himself,” Santiago said.

PAOCC Executive Director General Reginald Villasanta, however, issued a statement that Marcelino “is not and has never been an operative detailed to the Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Commission.” So he’s saying the former AFP chief of staff was lying.

tiglao.manilatimes@gmail.com

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15 Comments

  1. This is very good thriller story. I can’t wait to see what would be the next scenario after the arrest of the Drug Buster that had been busted. If this will be written in paperback I am sure this will be another bestseller in thriller category. In this story the PDEA turn out to be antagonist and it turn out that drug buster that had been busted become the protagonist. Can the protagonist survive the second chapter of his life?

  2. Ito ang patunay sa administrasyong ito, na wawasak sa kinabukasan ng ating mga anak na kabataan. ito ang aking nakikita sa mga aquino family, sa kadahilanang na gustong mangyari ng nanay nitong presidenteng wala sa katinuan, quote ” I want see the Filipino to suffer, and they will blame Marcoses , Unquote” ito ang sabi ni corykong infront of Mr. Tatad …This is the proof that abnoy is continuing his mission to give HELL to our people thru drugs addiction which is rampant and he is tolerating this problem. This is my point of view…Gising Pilipinas, kung filipino ka dapat may pakialam ka….

  3. Another Senate probe is in the offing. Expect Free TV exposures
    of those candidates running for National positions.

  4. If Mr. Dionisio have vouched for Mr. Ferdinand’s integrity and activities including his reporting directly to the President, surely, benigno is trying to play general and trying to do what PDEA is doing – and claim sole credit for busting a big drug syndicate, if ever. If a Lt. Col. can report directly to a president bypassing again the chain of command, no wonder, Mr. Ferdinand has a basis for claiming that what he is doing is for the country. For if we are to follow protocol, what should happen is that Mr. Ferdinand reports to his handler who reports to his boss who reports to the COS who henceforth reports to the President. But since Mr. Dioinisio claims that Mr. Ferdinand has direct access to the President, this is another case of a Mr. Alan reporting directly to the President viz Oplan Exodus. If we are to believer that the mama’s boy was bypassed and left out of the loop in Operation Exodus, hence, Cacdac, ISAP and the entire AFP may also have been bypassed and left out of the loop.

    This is a lesson that all bureaucrats, military personnel and even agency heads should do in the next five months of this benigno term: get a written authorization signed by benigno himself when there is a mission or an undertaking to be done. Like a film I once saw several years ago where this guy played by Harrison Ford made the President execute a written order before pursuing a job, everyone in the ambit of benigno should secure a document with the original written signature of benigno to pre-empt any future form of lying and denial.

  5. What the lower picture clowns must be laughing about saying to the above: hey dummies, you cry like a woman because you cannot defend it like a man, suckers!

  6. Indeed, there is a mystery lying somewhere in PDEA’s arrest of Marcelino. It seems that he was engaged in some kind of mission impossible operation scenario. Perhaps the inutile president is suspicious of PDEA and the police because in many raids conducted in which big shabu laboratories were discovered, only caretakers were arrested but the operators and masterminds were not caught. It seems that Marcelino’s mission was to penetrate the drug lords lair and identify them. As if copying from the movie plot of mission impossible, the chief will say to his agent this famous line, “if you will proceed with this mission, you are hereby reminded that in the event that you are captured or killed, the government will disavow any knowledge of your action”. This is what Marcelino got for his obedience and patriotism….

  7. Former CAFP and CPDEA Dionicio Santiago is not lying as what I read in yout paper MT that the General said that ” during some of his meetings with Col. Marcelino, Marcelino told him that he was an agent working and reporting directly to ES Ochoa or to Pnoy “. So how can you say that Gen. Santiago is LYING, Mr. Tiglao?

  8. I have read many articles you have published, and I appreciate them for being very informative of the current issues. The public who were unaware, were informed of many hidden information that were concealed to the public were being divulged through your column. This is to make the voters points on which to select the real
    public servants to choose from. I also appreciate Ex-Minister Tatad’s, Mr. Tony Lopez
    columns that opened the public eyes in selecting our future leaders.Corruption were always an issue, since time immemorial, and until now still flauntingng up. Who do you think was/is the leader/s that were not corrupt?

  9. There are an assortment of lies going around since liar-in-chief PNoy was caught lying in countless instances. Lying is now a common denominator in every scam and scandal perpetuated by the PNoy administration and yet, the foolish citizens continue believing in this modern day demon.

  10. Amado P. Salvador on

    It is ironic that a successful mission aimed at curbing the illegal drug business would yield a distinguished personality who has been known to be an officer who personifies a no-nonsense drug fighter. The media and the Nation must monitor succeeding developments in order that no whitewash on the case can take place. Meantime, the PDEA unit who undertook the successful mission deserves commendation. Well done guys!

  11. When you are a member of the intelligence and you are caught while on a mission, Be prepared to die. Poison in a pill is in your mouth, ready to be bitten by you once you are caught. Also your unit or superior will disown you, or will say you don’t belong to them.

    The people in this kind of job unquestionably love’s their Country. Example: There were many of them lived and died in the second world war.

  12. Alright sir! the mistah Col. Marcelino could have shouted to another mistah in the raided shabu lab.While Col.Marcelino was in near tears raising his handcuffed hands defiantly on TV watchers doesnt know whether to laugh or cry to the sordid spectacle.
    Only in the Philippines! Indeed.

  13. What is happening with our beloved country ? If God decided to strike lightning to those liars , we might not have a government which is full of liars.

  14. this is what we commonly heard…” an army within an army “..pera -pera, kong saan kikita doon ang pwersa,so we will expect the unexpected clowns in this issues with lots of fingers pointing…..until the story dies ….i don’t believe now a days that justice will be serve, no more in this point in time…..dog eats dog to survive and be powerful….our children and grand children will never ever witness a similar “lim cheng” to be added to their memories where rule of law was implemented and the root of evils are punished.