Ombudsman indicts Aquino over Mamasapano

The Office of the Ombudsman indicted former President Benigno Aquino III on July 14 for over the botched 2015 Mamasapano raid that led to the death of 44 Special Action Forces (SAF) cops.

Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales ordered the filing of criminal charges against Aquino for being liable in the raid.
The Inquirer obtained a copy of Morales’ resolution, which showed her ordering the filing of charges against the former President for Usurpation of Authority and violation of Section 3(1) of the anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.

The Ombudsman found probable case to charge Aquino “in conspiracy” with dismissed PNP Director General Alan Purisima and fired SAF Director Getulio Napeñas.

However, the Ombudsman dismissed the reckless imprudence resulting to homicide and physical injuries filed against Aquino, Napeñas, and Purisima. The charges were filed against the three by the relatives of the killed SAF forces.

Morales said that Aquino knew that Purisima was under preventive suspension for his involvement in the anomalous Werfast gun courier service deal, but the former president still allowed Purisima to take part in planning the Mamasapano raid, called “Oplan Exodus.” The mission led to the death of international terrorist Marwan. Morales also pointed out the exchange of messages between Aquino and Purisima about the anit-terror raid.

“There is no gainsaying that President Aquino was fully aware that the Office of the Ombudsman had placed Purisima under preventive suspension at that time [for the anomalous Werfest deal],” Morales said.
“The fact remains that, at the time, particularly before and during the actual implementation of Oplan Exodus, Purisima was under preventive suspension, and that Purisima, despite being under preventive suspension, indeed played an active role in Oplan Exodus, as shown by all the record of SMS exchanges and findings in the Senate Committee Report on the Mamasapano incident, to the point that he was exercising a degree of authority and discretion over Napeñas and consequently, over the operation,” she added.

Morales noted that suspended public officers cannot perform in public functions and getting involved with the government affairs.

She also said that the text messages between Purisima and Aquino did not support Aquino’s defense that Purisima was merely acting as a “resource person providing vital information” for the Mamasapano raid.

She added that Aquino’s influence and permission enabled Purisima to participate in the operation despite being suspended from the force.

“In other words, Purisima would not have been placed in such a position of continuing to conduct himself, in relation to Oplan Exodus, in a manner  as if he was not under preventive suspension at that time, from his position as PNP chief, were it not for the complicity and influence of President Aquino,” she said.

The mission led to the death of Malaysian terror suspect and bomb maker Zulkifli bin Hir, a.k.a. Marwan, but the deaths of the 44 police commandos sparked public outrage. The raid also caused the death of 20 Moro fighters and the refusal of the passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL).

Senate Majority Leader Franklin Drilon said he respected but disagreed with Morales’ decision to indict Aquino. He cited how the Senate committee on public order did not find the former president criminally liable.

Liberal Party president Senator Francis Pangilinan said that the party stands by Aquino and his commitment to pursuing the peace process in Mindanao. He added that the former president could defend his actions with

The widow of SAF Senior Insp. Joey Gamutan, Merlyn, said she wanted to file charges against Aquino and others who were accused “until they are jailed” due to their “negligence,” which led to the death of her husband.

Aquino’s spokesperson Abigail Valte said that Aquino and his lawyers were studying the Ombudsman’s findings and order “with the end view of filing a motion for reconsideration.”

Malacañang said President Duterte hoped to bring justice to the SAF 44’s families.

“The President recognizes the heroic sacrifice of the Philippine National Police-Special Action Force 44, and it is his—and the nation’s—hope to finally bring justice to the victims and families of the Fallen 44 and put closure to the issue as part of the healing process,” Abella said.

Sources: ( , , )

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