As mentioned by Minister Peyrefitte in his timeline of the morning of February 27, BDF Commander Stephen Ortega had agreed to allow his men to participate in the drug operations. In yesterday’s press conference, Commander Stephen Ortega was asked why he did not conduct due diligence to check on his men who were on a drug bust operation dubbed a high-security mission when he was the one who gave the orders for them to go. Here is how Ortega responded.
Reporter: Are you able to share why there was no concern on your part when these gentlemen, I don’t know if you tried to reach out to them throughout the day to establish if they had concluded their mission or not.
BDF Commander Stephen Ortega: “I believe the investigation spelled that our thoroughly.”
Reporter: Could you just repeat what you’re saying the investigation spelled out ?
BDF Commander Stephen Ortega: “I mean it’s there.”
Hon. Michael Peyrefitte, Minister of National Security: “If I may interject general your actions subsequent to that are still a part of an internal investigation.”
BDF Commander Stephen Ortega: “I answered the question in the investigation so it is there in the report.”
Reporter: So we have to wait until –
BDF Commander Stephen Ortega: “No it’s there in the report.”
Reporter: Why was it chosen to be done that way for us to have to wait a full week to get –
Hon. Michael Peyrefitte, Minister of National Security: “Because it’s a serious investigation, it’s not a joke.”
We did review the report to find what Commander Ortega’s response was to his failure to check on his men that he authorized on the mission. We found no such response in the 25-page document. We did find, however, on page twelve of the report that, quote, “in the Air Wing there was no one pending the mission of the UH-1H BDF 12, (a person pending his departure and return from the mission.)” End of quote.