VACC slams Ombudsman for filing ‘downgraded’ charges vs Aquino
A group that provided legal assistance to the relatives of policemen killed in the January 2015 Mamasapano incident has denounced the Ombudsman’s recent filing of “downgraded” charges against former President Benigno Simeon Aquino III in the Sandiganbayan.
Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption spokesperson Arsenio Evangelista said the Ombudsman’s Wednesday indictment was meant to “preempt” their petition before the Supreme Court.
The said SC petition questioned the Ombudsman’s June 13 and Sept. 5 orders finding probable cause to charge Aquino only with usurpation of authority and violation of Section 3(a) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act. The charges were brought to the Sandiganbayan on Nov. 8.
The charges arose not because of the killing of 44 elite policemen during the Jan. 25, 2015 incident, but because Aquino allowed his close friend, former Philippine National Police Director-General Alan Purisima, to take the reins of the so-called Oplan Exodus despite being suspended at the time pending a graft investigation.
The relatives of the so-called SAF44 who were assisted by VACC actually sued Aquino before the Ombudsman for reckless imprudence resulting in multiple homicide, implying that Aquino’s negligence caused the deaths.
Besides the issue of the SC case, Evangelista also said the “downgrading” of the charges was meant for the “possible dismissal eventually of the said Information filed by the Ombudsman.”
This echoed President Rodrigo Duterte’s observation on July 18 that Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales, appointed by Aquino in July 2011, deliberately filed a weak case to “ensure failure.”
The Ombudsman orders stated that Aquino’s alleged negligence was not the “direct, immediate and proximate cause of the deaths.” Instead, the deaths were ruled a direct result of the “intentional act of shooting by the hostile forces” in Mamasapano.
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