Relatives of SAF 44 slam Ombudsman for selective justice
(Updated, 5:10 p.m., July 19, 2017) Relatives of the slain Special Action Force (SAF) troopers on Wednesday appealed the reconsideration of the Ombudsman’s dismissal of the reckless imprudence resulting in multiple homicide and physical injuries complaint filed against former president Benigno Aquino III over the Mamasapano tragedy.
The Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC) accompanied Telly Sumbilla, mother of slain PO3 John Lloyd Sumbilla, and Felecitas Nacino, mother of slain PO2 Nicky Nacino, who both broke down as they lamented Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales’ selectiveness in indicting Aquino over the botched anti-terror operation.
This after the Office of the Ombudsman dismissed the reckless imprudence resulting in multiple homicide and physical injuries against Aquino. The anti-graft office however, ordered Aquino charged before the Sandiganbayan with graft and usurpation of authority.
Nacino decried Morales’ alleged selective justice in letting Aquino off the hook for the lives of the slain SAF policemen. A retired Supreme Court justice, Morales was appointed as Ombudsman by Aquino in 2011.
“Makinig sana kayo sa katotohanan. Huwag sana kayo selective. Maawa naman mayo sa amin. Hanggang ngayon, masakit sa amin, hindi pa kami makapag-move on (Please listen to the truth. Don’t be selective. Have mercy on us. Until now it still hurts and we cannot move on),” Nacino said.
“Masakit po talaga Madame Ombudsman. Ipakita mo po sa amin ang totoong hustisya ng Pilipinas (It really hurts Madame Ombudsman. Please show us real justice in the Philippine)!” she added.
“Masakit na masakit po ang nangyari po sa anak namin. Hindi po makatarungan ang kanilang pagkamatay. Kung kaya’t kailangan namin… Ombudsman! Maging patas ka po. Ipakita mo ang tamang hustisya, para sa mga anak po namin… Makinig po naman po kayo sa mga hinaing namin (It hurts us still what happened to our children. They died with injustice. That’s why we are pleading, Ombudsman, be fair to us. Show us true justice, for our children… Please listen to our grievances),” Nacino said.
“Makinig sana kayo sa katotohanan. Huwag sana kayo selective. Maawa naman mayo sa amin. Hanggang ngayon, masakit sa amin, hindi pa kami makapag-move on (Please listen to the truth. Don’t be selective. Have mercy on us. Until now it still hurts and we cannot move on),” she added.
Sumbillo lamented the lack of justice for the common people while Aquino is spared from liability over the botched anti-terror raid.
She called the Ombudsman’s indictment against Aquino for graft and usurpation a false consolation, decrying the injustice in Morales’ dismissal of the reckless imprudence complaint.
“Yung ginawa ni Justice Morales, ‘Consuelo de bobo,’ yan. Di makatarungan, di patas ang hustisya dito. Bakit? Dahil ba sila makapangyarihan, kami mahihirap lamang?… Bakit ho nakiling ang hustisya?” Sumbillo said.
(What Justice Morales did is a false consolation. It’s injustice, we don’t have a reliable justice system. Why? Because they are influential and we are only poor)?” she said.
The SAF kin’s counsel Ferdinand Topacio and VACC Chairperson Dante Jimenez both hit Morales for filing supposed flimsy criminal charges against Aquino. They urged her to resign from her post.
“We want her not just to inhibit. We want her to resign. This is just shameful, just shameful… Ombudsman Morales has become a biased ombudsman and selective na po ang justice dito (and justice has been selective here)” Topacio said, citing the Ombudsman’s filing of pork barrel scam charges against the opposition while sparing administration allies, at the same time letting Aquino off the hook in the Disbursement Acceleration Program case.
Jimenez said Aquino’s indictment for graft and usurpation of authority is not enough to make up to the deaths of the 44 slain SAF policemen being blamed on Aquino’s hands.
“Buhay po ang nawala dito, 44 lives were lost. How can you equate the loss of 44 lives with graft? Hindi naman po pagnanakaw sa kaban ng bayan (Lives were lost here, 44 lives were lost. How can you equate the loss of 44 lives with graft? This does not involve stealing from the country’s coffers),” Jimenez said.
“Halatang halata po si Morales (Morales is very much obvious). Kaya she has to resign and inhibit herself from this. Ombudsman, protect your institution, not Morales,” Jimenez added.
In their motion for reconsideration filed on Wednesday, the complainants refuted the Ombudsman’s claim that Aquino’s alleged negligence did not result in the deaths of the slain 44 elite troopers.
In its resolution, the Ombudsman said reckless imprudence resulting in multiple homicide and physical injuries can only be proven if there is a “direct causal connection” between the alleged negligence and the sustained injuries and damages.
In this case, the “proximate cause” of the deaths of the 44 slain SAF troops was not Aquino’s alleged negligence, but the gunfire that erupted at the height of the botched anti-terror raid, the Ombudsman said.
The complainants maintained that Aquino’s negligence resulted in the deaths of the SAF 44, precisely because Aquino’s alleged reckless imprudence and negligence was the “first act that set off the chain of events leading to the deaths of SAF 44.”
The complainants cited the following acts by Aquino that set off the series of unfortunate of events in Mamasapano — approving the “flawed” Oplan Exodus; allowing dismissed police chief Alan Purisima to lead the operation despite his suspension for graft; and failing to send reinforcement and aid as the elite cops were being slaughtered in the crossfire.
Complainants found it “bizarre” that the Ombudsman found that the cause of the SAF 44’s deaths was not Aquino’s negligence, but the “intentional act of shooting by hostile forces.”
“This is like saying that in a motor vehicle accident, the proximate cause of the death of a pedestrian is the hitting of his body by the vehicle,” the complainants said.
They reminded Ombudsman that their complaint was merely for reckless imprudence resulting in homicide and injury, not murder or homicide as the office seems to suggest.
The complainants likened Aquino’s alleged role in the botched raid to that of a bus driver, who should be liable for the deaths of the passengers in the event the bus falls of a ravine.
“In this case, the question that begs to be answered is: Who put the SAF 44 in the line of fire that made them easy targets for the guns of the hostile forces?… The SAF 44 were there due to the defective orders of a defective president… He is thus the proximate cause,” the complaint read.
The complainants said Aquino should be criminally liable for allowing Purisima to participate despite the latter’s graft preventive suspension, which violated the police chain of command, “wreak(ed) havoc” on the operation, and caused “total operational chaos.”
The appeal ended in an epilogue with a cartoon, showing a rifle planted on the ground, smoke wafting in the air composing the words “waiting for justice.” with a report from Celine Amilhamja, INQUIRER.net trainee / JPV
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