FORMER president Benigno Aquino 3rd is asking the Office of the Ombudsman to reverse its ruling that found basis to charge him and two others with graft and usurpation of authority in connection with the police operation in Mamasapano, Maguindanao in 2015.
“To reiterate, Respondent Purisima’s involvement as a mere resource person and his act of forwarding to me the messages of Respondent Napeñas cannot be construed as discharging official functions and thereby violating the order of preventive suspension,” Aquino said in his motion submitted on Thurs-day.
Purisima is former Philippine National Police (PNP) Director General Alan Purisima while Napeñas is former PNP-Special Action Force (PNP-SAF) Director Getulio Napeñas.
Aquino added that he “was not given the opportunity to adequately address and refute” the charges of graft and usurpation, and thus asked the Ombudsman to reverse its ruling and to dismiss the charg-es for lack of merit.
Three separate complaints were filed at the Office of the Ombudsman against Aquino, Purisima, and Napeñas for reckless imprudence resulting in multiple homicide, after Aquino’s term ended in 2016.
In a ruling approved by Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales last Friday, she dismissed for lack of probable cause the complaint for reckless imprudence resulting in multiple homicide, saying that the proximate cause of the death of the SAF 44 was the “intentional act” of shooting by hostile forces, in-cluding the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters, and private armed groups.
However, Morales said she found basis to charge Aquino “in conspiracy with” Purisima and Napeñas with violation of Section 3(a) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act and Article 177 of the Revised Penal Code.
The Ombudsman alleged in part that Purisima “played an active role in Oplan Exodus” despite being under preventive suspension, and that he “would not have been placed in such a position of continu-ing to conduct himself, in relation to Oplan Exodus, in a manner as if he was not under preventive sus-pension at that time, from his position as [then-]PNP chief, were it not for the complicity and influence of” Aquino.
The operation was aimed at serving an arrest warrant on international terrorist Zulkifli bin Hir alias Marwan and his protégé Abdulbasit Usman. Marwan was killed while Usman escaped.
Over 60 people, including 44 members of the PNP-SAF were killed in the gun battle that ensued.
Usman was later killed by the MILF in a chance encounter.