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EastMinCom denies US troop presence in Davao City

THE EASTERN Mindanao Command (EastMinCom) on Wednesday refuted claims by a political commentator regarding the alleged presence of US troops and drone operations near the Davao City airport.

In an interview on Wednesday, June 19, Colonel Ma. Cristina Rosete-Manuel, spokesperson for EastMinCom, said the offices of the Assistant Chief of Unified Command Staff for Operations (U3) and Assistant Chief of Unified Command Staff for Intelligence (U2) have not monitored any such activity.

This comes after a political commentator raised concerns about a supposed influx of American soldiers in Davao City, sparking fears of a potential violation of Philippine sovereignty.

In an interview with SMNI News on Tuesday, a political commentator named EB Jugalbot expressed his alarm over the situation. “This is impunity. This is very disturbing. This is very alarming. And I’m very much frustrated for our countrymen,” he said.

Jugalbot’s concerns stem from the recent arrival of a large number of US soldiers in Davao City, despite the absence of any declared EDCA sites in the area. The Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) is a military agreement between the Philippines and the United States that allows US troops to be stationed in the Philippines for training and joint exercises.

He believes that this increased presence could be linked to the impending ICC [International Criminal Court] warrant against Vice President Sara Duterte, as well as the arrest of Pastor Apollo Quiboloy, who is also facing charges in the US. 

Quiboloy, founder and leader of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ (KOJC), a religious group based in Davao City. He is facing charges of sex trafficking and racketeering in the United States.

She is currently facing an investigation by the ICC for her alleged role in the extrajudicial killings that occurred during her father’s administration.

“I would even venture to say this in public, na matamaan na kung sino matamaan dyan,” Jugalbot said. “I would like to connect it to the impending ICC warrant that maybe issued in a matter of time against the sitting Vice President Sara Duterte, FPRRD [Former President Rodrigo Duterte], at kung sino sino pa.”

He further noted that the type of drones being used in Davao City’s airspace, MQ-9 Reaper drones, are highly classified and typically operated by trained personnel. This, he believes, further reinforces the notion of a covert US operation in the city.

“These drones are highly classified at ang mga operators nyan are highly trained and when drones like this are flown you do not assign it to somebody without the proper top secret clearance,” Jugalbot explained.

Jugalbot also pointed out that the US troops seen in Davao City are not ordinary soldiers but rather appear to be part of classified operations units such as Navy SEALs. “These are images of people that I think are US Navy seals, the green beret or US Navy seals are actually the ones who are in charge of these drones,” he said.

He maintains that the presence of these US troops in Davao City is illegal and unconstitutional, as it undermines the sovereignty of the Philippines.

“No it’s not just unlawful it’s unconstitutional it is undermining the sovereignty of the Philippines, this is actually an impeachable offense if you look at the provisions on impeachment this is the betrayal of public trust letting a foreign country run military intelligence operations in your own land, and besides the airport,” Jugalbot stated.



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