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PNoy, Purisima face charges over Mamasapano tragedy, SAF 44's death
15 July 2017, 11:25 | Justin Tyler
Ombudsman orders filing of raps vs ex-President Aquino for Mamasapano tragedy
Aquino's "co-conspirators" were former Philippine National Police (PNP) director-general Alan L.M. Purisima and Director Getulio P Napeñas of the PNP Special Action Force (SAF), the Ombudsman said.
In the aftermath, Aquino was widely criticized for allowing suspended PNP chief Purisima not only to participate in the planning, but also in the running of said operation; and for breaking the chain of command among others.
Malacañang on Friday said it "respects" the Ombudsman's constitutional mandate to investigate public officials.
Aquino was criminally charged for Usurpation of Authority (Article 177 of the Revised Penal Code) and violation of Section 3 (a) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act (Republic Act No. 3019).
The law also provides that "it shall be unlawful for any public officer to persuade, induce or influence another public officer to perform an act constituting a violation of rules and regulations duly promulgated by competent authority or an offense in connection with the official duties of the latter, or allowing himself to be persuaded, induced, or influenced to commit such violation or offense".
If found guilty, Mr. Aquino could be jailed for up to six years.
MAMASAPANO FALLOUT. Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales, who administered the presidential oath of office to then incoming President Benigno Aquino III in 2010, has ordered the filing of criminal raps against him for culpability in the 2015 massacre of 44 troops in Mamasapano.
"An initial reading shows that there may have been a misappreciation of some facts surrounding the incident, leading to some erroneous conclusions", she said in a statement.
If the Ombudsman sits on the VACC's motion, the group will bring the case to the "final bastion" of the justice system in the Philippines, the Supreme Court, Topacio said.
Panelo said Aquino may have used the "power or wealth" to hide his liability over the bungled operation of the elite police Special Action Force (SAF) troopers in Mamasapano, Maguindanao last January 25, 2015 but he could not escape the law.
In the ensuing firefight that lasted several hours, 44 SAF troopers died.
In their complaint filed against Aquino a year ago, the bereaved families said the former President should be accountable for authorizing the January 25, 2015 operation and for failing to order a rescue as the commandos were being slaughtered.
Morales added that "certainly a public officer who is under preventive suspension is barred from performing any public functions and from meddling into the affairs of the government".
"As far as the suspension of Purisima was concerned, it is pretty much established because the Ombudsman knows her own orders and for the President to not have been aware of such an order, that would be quite a stretch, if you ask me", Fajardo said.
Because of his orders, Purisima still enjoyed the powers of his position despite his suspension.
Reacting to the Ombudsman's announcement, Duterte's spokesman Ernesto Abella said that he hailed the "heroic sacrifice" of the slain police commandos.
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