Aquino appeals indictment
In appealing his indictment over the Mamasapano clash, former President Benigno Aquino III has invoked the Ombudsman’s alleged violation of his right to due process.
In a motion for reconsideration filed on Wednesday, Aquino argued that the Ombudsman erred when she ruled there was probable cause to charge him for graft and usurpation of authority over the Jan. 25, 2015 incident.
The bereaved relatives sued him for 44 counts of reckless imprudence resulting in homicide, which could have carried penalties totaling 176 years in prison. But Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales, whom Aquino appointed in July 2011, did not hold him directly liable for the deaths.
Instead, the July 14 resolution said there was basis to charge him for allowing then-suspended Philippine National Police Director General Alan Purisima, his close friend, to take the reins of the ill-fated “Oplan Exodus.”
In his appeal, Aquino argued that the allegations of the Special Action Force (SAF) policemen’s relatives did not indicate the bases that would lead to his indictment for graft and usurpation.
Aquino also repeated his claim that he only engaged Purisima as a “subject matter expert/resource person,” and never directed him to command the operation to neutralize wanted international terrorist Zulkifli bin Hir, alias Marwan.
He maintained he was under the impression that SAF Commander Getulio Napeñas Jr. undertook the principal planning and preparation for Oplan Exodus and would be in charge of its execution.
Aquino said he ordered Purisima on Jan. 9, 2015 to brief PNP officer in charge Leonardo Espina, adding he was unaware that the former disregarded the instruction and kept the temporary police chief out of the loop.
In a motion for reconsideration on Wednesday, the complainants disagreed with the Ombudsman’s finding that the “proximate legal cause” of the SAF’s deaths was the “intentional act of shooting by hostile forces.”
“Who put the SAF 44 in the line of fire that made them easy targets for the guns of the hostile forces? Definitely not the MILF, the BIFF and the PAGs,” the appeal stated. —VINCE F. NONATO
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