SC affirms dismissal of reckless imprudence raps vs Aquino on SAF 44’s death
MANILA, Philippines–The Supreme Court has upheld the decision of the Office of the Ombudsman finding no reason to charge former President Benigno Aquino III, former Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Alan Purisima and former PNP-Special Action Force (SAF) head Getulio Napenas with reckless imprudence resulting in homicide for the 2015 Mamasapano bloodbath.
Voting unanimously (15-0), the high court ruled that the Ombudsman did not commit grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction when it dismissed the complaint against Aquino, Purisima and Napeñas.
“The court held that the Ombudsman did not commit grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction in dismissing the complaints for 44 counts of reckless imprudence resulting in multiple homicide filed against private respondents,” the SC said.
“Wherefore, the petition is dismissed. The Ombudsman’s consolidated resolution dated June 13, 2017 and consolidated order dated September 5, 2017 are affirmed insofar as they found no probable cause to charge private respondents Benigno Simeon C. Aquino III, Alan Purisima and Getulio Napenas with reckless imprudence resulting in homicide,” it added.
In 2017, the Office of the Ombudsman indicted Aquino, Purisima and Napenas for violation of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act (graft and usurpation of authority) for their role in the Mamasapano operation.
The charges against Aquino, Purisima and Napenas were filed before the Sandiganbayan in November 2017 during the time of former Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales.
But relatives and family members of the slain SAF commandos petitioned the High Court asking that Aquino be charged instead with reckless imprudence resulting in homicide. They were supported in their petition by Solicitor General Jose Calida.
Calida said Morales disregarded the sufficiency of the evidence against the former president when she indicted him instead for graft and usurpation of authority.
The SC issued the TRO in February 7, 2018, just before Aquino, Purisima and Napenas were to be arraigned on the reckless imprudence case.
Then, Ombudsman Samuel Martires moved to withdraw the remaining cases against Aquino before the Sandiganbayan. With the lifting of restraining order on Aug. 7, the Sandiganbayan granted Martires’ request. /jpv
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