THE Office of the Ombudsman has filed at the Sandiganbayan a graft case and a charge of usurpation of official functions against former President Benigno Aquino 3rd in connection with the police operation in Mamasapano, Maguindanao in 2015 that resulted in the deaths of 44 elite commandos.
Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales approved a consolidated resolution that found probable cause to charge Aquino “in conspiracy with” former Philippine National Police (PNP) Director General Alan Purisima and former PNP-Special Action Force (SAF) Director Getulio Napeñas. The two were charged early 2017 with the same offenses before the Sandiganbayan.
Aquino sought reconsideration but the Ombudsman denied it in a consolidated order, which Morales approved in September.
The Ombudsman said in part that “the Office finds probable cause that [former]President Aquino’s act of utilizing the services of the preventively suspended Purisima for Oplan Exodus” allegedly “caused Purisima to perform, under pretense of official position the acts pertaining to the PNP Chief without being lawfully entitled to do so, in violation of Article 177 of the Revised Penal Code on usurpation of official functions.”
The Ombudsman preventively suspended Purisima for six months in December 2014 pending investigation into the allegedly anomalous courier deal forged by the PNP with Werfast Documentation Agency, Inc. in 2011. The PNP terminated the deal in March 2014.
“Similarly, the Office finds probable cause that [former]President Aquino’s act of utilizing the services of Purisima for Oplan Exodus under the aforesaid circumstances” allegedly “constituted an act of persuading, inducing or influencing another public officer to perform acts constituting a violation of the order of preventive suspension and a commission of usurpation of official functions, in violation of Section 3(a) of RA No. 3019,” the Ombudsman added.
Republic Act (R.A.) 3019 is the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.
The operation, known as Oplan Exodus, was aimed at capturing Marwan and his protégé Abdulbasit Usman. Marwan was killed while Usman escaped.
Over 60 people, including 44 PNP-SAF members, were killed in the gun battle that ensued.
Usman was later killed by the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in a chance encounter.