Duterte says ‘silly charges’ vs. Aquino bound to fail; Aquino surprised Duterte spoke up about his indictment

President Rodrigo Duterte said cased filed against former President Benigno Aquino III over the 2015 Mamasapano raid are “meant to fail.”

Duterte added that the order by Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales to indict Aquino for graft and usurpation of authority for allowing then suspended PNP chief Alan Purisima to oversee the raid, which led to the deaths of 44 Special Action Forces (SAF).
The President added that Morales filed the wrong charges against Aquino, who appointed her to her position and whom she has cleared of homicide charges over Mamasapano.

Duterte said there was no usurpation of authority.

“Ngayon, ‘yung ginawa ng mga pulis pati ni Purisima kung sino doon, kanya ‘yun, because hindi mo masabi usurpation of authority because lahat na ‘yung sinabi nila are merged in one person, the Chief Executive, the President. He can call anybody to help him fight a criminal operation there. He was not using the administrative talent — in appointments, in signing, there was… He was just asking for the advice from a professional police,” he said.

“I do not see anything wrong there. Nothing was signed, nothing was agreed by Purisima except that he was helping the President implement the law. Ngayon, kung sino ‘yung utusan niya wala kang pakialam because he has the trust,” he added.

Duterte further explained, “Pagka sabi niya, “Halika dito, Alan Purisima. You are my Chief sa PNP. Tulungan mo ako dito.” What’s wrong with that? He was not usurping. He did not took an oath there and said that, “I am assuming as…” Wala man. He was just being consulted. Kaya ‘yung charge kay Aquino will fail.”

He said the charges against Aquino where made to “ensure its failure.”

“So pagka by ‘yung usurpation, all of those powers are vested in the President. The charges are… They are there to ensure its failure,” Duterte said.

The President made the statement during a chance interview on July 17 after the turnover of the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law by the Bangsamoro Transition Commission, of which the transcript was posted by the PCOO.
A reporter asked Duterte if the charges were made up, or “moro-moro,” and Duterte answered in the affirmative. He also predicted that Aquino will be acquitted.

“Lahat ng powers ng lahat ng Cabinet ko pwede kong angkinin akin. You step aside and I will assume… And he was the… He was the person who ordered the operation. Ngayon kung magsabi siya na tulungan mo ito because… The President remember is not a military man like me. Kung magtanong siya kay Purisima because he has the trust of Purisima. What’s wrong kung magsabi si Purisima, “Dito sir, dito ‘yan.” So it was… It was neither a misadventure but I would say that Murphy’s Law,” Duterte said.

The President even said that January 2015 police operation was a success since the police commandos were able to kill the target – international terrorist Zulkifli bin Hir Marwan.

“It was a success in the sense that they were able to secure the fingers at the cost of 44 lives. Parang military failure — operation,” he said.

“Wala. Sabi ko, bugok ‘yung nagdesisyon. There are maybe siguro another damages but not criminal,” he added.

Asked what he would charge Aquino if he were still a prosecutor, Duterte said, “Wala ako… Wala. Talagang failure. Hindi naman lahat manalo eh. It was a[n] operation. It was a success in the sense that they were able to get the fingers of Marwan.”

Duterte called the charge against Aquino a “silly charge” because he was simply doing his job, which is to give an order, and as the President, he is legally able to take over any Cabinet position.

“Kung ganyan lang ang kakayahan ko, mag-order ako bukas. O tapos patay lahat. Tapos sabihin mo, “inorder ko.” Eh ‘yan lang ang trabaho ko eh. Ngayon kung manalo o hindi, depende na ‘yan. Pero papuntahin mo doon ng walang baril, papuntahin mo doon ng walang bala, anak ng p***. Murder ‘yan. You know that they will be killed there. Pero kung armado naman lahat,” Duterte said.

“You know, charging Aquino for that… Silly. Actually, my term there, it’s a silly charge. Kasi ‘yung mga failure, usurpation — those positions, when the President assumes the role there, sabihin niya, “I take over.” ‘Yung role mo there is whatever na ni-usurp is perfectly legal because the President has control of all departments — Cabinet,” he added.

However, Duterte said that Aquino had shortcomings during the operation.

“But the shortcoming is the burden of Aquino. May shortcomings doon. There was no assistance, reinforcements, the military air assets, the cannons there, it could have reached… But then you cannot do it, because you will also kill the people, the women and children there,” he said.

Aquino was surprised Duterte spoke up about his indictment because he expected Duterte to remain quiet about it.

“I was expecting, at the most, he would probably be quiet. Because earlier that day and if I remember correctly, previously, Chief Presidential Legal Counsel [Salvador Panelo] said the charge was correct, etc. Secretary Aguirre also said the same thing. And his alter egos suddenly had their principal saying something different,” Aquino said on Rappler Talk with Maria Ressa.

Panelo said on July 15 that the “time of reckoning” had come for Aquino and “no power nor wealth can escape from it.”

Aquino said Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre, who defended dismissed PNP SAF director Getulio Napeñas, should “keep quiet.”

On July 17, Aguirre called Aquino’s indictment a “welcome development,” as per a Philippine Star report.

“It’s a welcome development. The factual bases of the resolution are by and large accurate,” he told the Philippine Star via a text message.

Aquino said he was surprised by his indictment because usurpation of authority and graft were not a part of the complaint filed by the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC) that he responded to in January.

The former president said he would file a motion for reconsideration before the Ombudsman on July 19.

“If we were given a chance to file a response to any of this, then we believe they would have been clarified of what transpired and then there would have been no charges,” Aquino said.

In an interview on GMA’s “24 Oras,” Aquino said he is bracing himself for the ‘worst’ – the possibility over going to jail over the Mamasapano charges.

“Well gano’n naman parati ang attitude ko ‘no? Walang mawawala sayo if you will prepare for the worst and hope for the best. So kausap natin ang mga abogado natin, binalikan ko lahat ng aking data with regards to Mamasapano and all the other cases tapos ‘yung ini-imagine mo na rin,” Aquino said.

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