After the Marawi siege on May 23rd by the Maute group, President Duterte late at night declared the entire Mindanao under martial law. Duterte told the media that he did not know the presence of the United States (US) troops in Marawi City during the intensifying war between the Maute group and the Philippine forces. He had “never approached America” for help, said Duterte during the news conference in Cagayan de Oro.

When the US troops step in the Marawi siege to help out Philippine forces fighting against the Maute group, a stark terror and doubt eclipse the Filipinos’ hope to escape America’s claw.

Stupider than being backstabbed by those people Duterte entrusted, the US technical aid amid the fight isn’t that just simply standing protocol in the purview of the US-PH Mutual Defense Treaty.

More than being screwed in broad daylight, the US assistance as being predicated on the ongoing ISIS-led war in Marawi isn’t just a simple fight against terrorism, or that the US initiative to send help is as urgent as keeping the president blind of this effort inherent of his disposal, or worse by a no-choice situation.

Is it just rather fitting to act diplomatically and call such effort open for external forces who want to help fight against the Maute group even sans the president’s knowledge in advance?

Duterte as a castaway during Marawi siege

By letting the president appear as a castaway or worse than a puppet president when he, himself, confirmed his innocence about the US technical assistance in Marawi, isn’t it just simply role-playing that President Duterte seemed left out naively in the scene? That in such case, there would be no violation of the chain of command?

Was there such no violation after all despite making the states’ commander-in-chief blind of the US effort to help the Philippine troops? Was he double-crossed? Or was he not just simply informed?

After the US initiative to send help to the Philippine troops in Marawi, does the situation on the ground become more favorable to the government forces? That’s not the scenario being expected after all with 13 marines killed as of press time.

US help in the Marawi siege is likely a decoy
File Photo: The Marawi City was set ablaze by airstrikes during the siege. (Photo: Mark Jhomel, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

Whether the terrorist group has been advancing its security level on the ground making them harder to be trapped by the Philippine troops, the US could not be held responsible.

Whether the US effort becomes successful to defeat the Maute group on the ground, Filipinos, at last, could face the world, yet red-faced.

But knowing the US full well—the capability to pretend and utilize its clandestine forces effectively operating across the globe especially in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Turkey, Iran, and now back in the Philippines— its effort to help the Philippine troops may likely be a stark decoy.

The US move without the knowledge of President Duterte may simply either covert support to the Maute group or a form of extraction as a ploy to avert the Philippine government schemes and plans about disengagement from America in toto.

The Philippine government now is in checkmate with this jaw-dropping US effort in the Marawi siege leaving President Duterte in a stalemate, momentarily.

The US move could be likened to hitting two birds with just a single bullet—reaffirming its integral presence in the Philippines and value in times of security crisis while getting through a course or a plan that may strengthen its geopolitical advancement in Asia. ▲


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