Sandigan defers Aquino’s arraignment over Mamasapano incident
The Sandiganbayan has reset former President Benigno S. Aquino III’s arraignment for graft and usurpation of authority over the 2015 Mamasapano incident.
Aquino’s lawyer, Atty. Romeo Fernandez, told reporters that the Fourth Division rescheduled the arraignment to February 15 pending the court’s decision on the motion filed by the former Chief Executive seeking to quash the cases filed against him.
Meanwhile, Aquino’s co-accused, former Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief Alan Purisima, who has been arraigned earlier, arrived at the anti-graft court for his pre-trial also in connection with the deadly Mamasapano raid.
In November, Aquino posted a P40,000-bail even before the Sandiganbayan issued an arrest order against him.
The Office of the Ombudsman had filed the charges against Aquino, Purisima, and former Special Action Force (SAF) chief Getulio Napeñas in connection with the botched Mamasapano operation against terrorist and bomb-maker Zulkifli Abdhir, alias Marwan, which resulted in the death of 44 SAF commandos.
Earlier, Aquino’s case was raffled to the graft court’s Third Division, which was chaired by his appointee Presiding Justice Amparo Cabotaje-Tang.
But later, Tang’s division approved the motion to consolidate the Mamasapano cases of Aquino, Purisima, and Napeñas in the Fourth Division.
The Fourth Division is chaired by Associate Justice Alex Quiroz, an appointee of former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. /kga
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