Palace hands off on Ombudsman’s move to drop raps vs Aquino
MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang is taking a hands-off stance on the Office of the Ombudsman’s decision to withdraw its graft and usurpation cases against former President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III for the botched Mamasapano operation that killed 44 Special Action Force (SAF) troopers.
But Sen. Richard Gordon believes Aquino should be charged with reckless imprudence resulting in homicide.
Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said the Palace was not involved in the Ombudsman’s decisions.
Palace doesn’t interfere
“The Palace doesn’t interfere with the other branches of the government as well as constitutional bodies. They have their assigned constitutional functions,” Panelo sad.
In a radio interview, Gordon said the initial charges filed against Aquino by the Ombudsman under Cochita Carpio Morales were weak.
The office, under new Ombudsman Samuel Martires, moved to withdraw the charges, but without prejudice to filing a new one.
“The way I see it, the graft and corruption and usurpation cases decided by Conchita Morales and which they filed were underdone,” Gordon said over dwIZ.
The case filed should be reckless imprudence resulting in homicide, he added.
“There has got to be somebody who has got to be responsible. In this particular case, the Commander in Chief Aquino planned with a suspended police officer and did not provide the necessary support. When they were in trouble they did not provide the necessary support to our soldiers, to our policemen,” he said.
“They must be held accountable and responsible, and no amount of technicalities in law can erase that perception, in my mind at least,” he added.
Gordon said somebody must be held accountable for the deaths of the SAF operatives or else there would be no closure for their families and loved ones.
“Closure is important, putting people in jail who are part of it, no matter who they are,” he said.
The Mamasapano operation in 2015 was launched to arrest Malaysian terror suspect Zulkifli bin Hir alias Marwan.
It became controversial after the SAF operatives clashed with Moro rebels in the area, killing 44 SAF troopers. The tragic turn was blamed on lack of coordination with the military and with the community in the area.
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