Justice dep’t looking into command responsibility | Inquirer News

Justice dep’t looking into command responsibility

/ 05:27 AM February 21, 2015

MANILA, Philippines—The Department of Justice (DOJ) may take into account the principle of command responsibility in determining the criminal liability of the people involved in the Mamasapano clash in Maguindanao.

Although the National Bureau of Investigation and the National Prosecutor Service’s probe is focused on the criminal aspect, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima on Friday said it was inevitable that the investigation touched on command responsibility.

“In criminal law, there are principles of command or superior responsibility. It will depend on the results of our evaluation on what laws can be applied in this case,” De Lima said.


The justice department is conducting a separate investigation of the Jan. 25 Mamasapano clash between Special Action Force (SAF) commandos and Moro rebels.


The objective of the DOJ probe is the filing of criminal charges against those responsible for the deaths of 44 SAF commandos, 18 guerrillas from the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and five civilians.

De Lima explained that there are provisions on command or superior responsibility in criminal law and that the DOJ probers may take into account these principles in their investigation of the incident.

“If it is applicable, we cannot avoid possibilities such as acts of malfeasance, dereliction of duty, neglect of duty and lapses in shedding light on the possible criminal responsibility of those involved,” she said.

Police Director Getulio Napeñas, the sacked SAF commander, has taken full responsibility for the debacle.

In hearings on the incident in the Senate and the House of Representatives, Napeñas claimed that President Aquino and resigned Philippine National Police chief Director General Alan Purisima knew about the operation, while the PNP officer in charge, Deputy Director General Leonardo Espina, and Interior Secretary Mar Roxas did not.

The DOJ investigators are going to Mamasapano on Feb. 26 as part of the evidence-gathering and case buildup for the filing of charges.


De Lima said the visit to Mamasapano was needed to validate and evaluate the statements of witnesses.

“We are also looking forward to the results of the [police board of inquiry] investigation, as it is very thorough and detailed,” she said.

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TAGS: 44 SAF commandos, DoJ, Leila de Lima, Moro rebels

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