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Retired SAF chief’s lawyer asks Ombudsman: Why exempt Aquino?

/ 09:46 PM July 05, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – The legal counsel of retired Special Action Force (SAF) chief Maj. Gen. Getulio Napeñas has questioned the Ombudsman’s decision to withdraw raps versus former President Benigno Aquino III but not those slapped against his client.

Lawyer Paolo Mabazza on Friday said the basis of Ombudsman Samuel Martires’ withdrawal of the case is confusing to them because they believe Napeñas should be included.

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“Bakit kay Noynoy (Aquino) lang ang wini-withdraw (Why did they withdraw the case against Nonoy only)?” Mabazza said.

Earlier, Martires said Aquino cannot be charged for usurpation because as chief executive, he has authority over all police officers and officials — including Napeñas and sacked Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief General Alan Purisima.

READ: Incumbent presidents can’t be sued for usurpation of power – Martires

“Ang problema namin (Our problem is), if the person — according to Ombudsman — who issued that order cannot be held liable for usurpation because precisely he is the president, then how come that the persons na inutusan lang niya (that he gave orders to) would be held liable?” Mabazza asked.

“For us, it does not make sense. Kaya (So) we will file our comment para naman makita ng Sandiganbayan. Hopefully, they would take that into consideration once they are already allowed to resolve the pending motion,” he added.

Martires signed a motion seeking the withdrawal of the case against Aquino last June 24. He was charged for his role in the controversial Oplan Exodus, which he coordinated with Purisima while the latter was suspended.

READ: Ombudsman drops charges vs Aquino 

READ: Sandigan to hear Ombudsman’s plea to withdraw cases vs Aquino

READ: SAF 44 and ‘Oplan Exodus’ in Mamasapano, Maguindanao

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However, the Sandiganbayan Fourth Division said the court has to wait for the Supreme Court (SC) to lift the temporary restraining order (TRO) on the case before it resolves the issue.

During the proceedings, Mabazza asked Fourth Division chair and Associate Justice Alex Quiroz if Napeñas’ camp can file a comment. Quiroz allowed him to do so but stressed that the anti-graft court could only note it as it cannot act with SC’s TRO still in place. (Editor: Eden Estopace)

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TAGS: graft and usurpation charges, Maj. Gen. Getulio Napeñas, Ombudsman Samuel Martires, Philippine news updates, President Benigno Aquino III
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