THE Sandiganbayan has found probable cause to try former president Benigno Aquino 3rd for graft and usurpation of official functions and set his arraignment on January 12, 2018.
The anti-graft court issued its ruling after Aquino posted a P40,000 bail – P30,000 for graft and P10,000 for the usurpation charge.
After Aquino posted bail, the court withdrew its warrant of arrest.
The cases were raffled off to the court’s Third Division earlier on Friday.
In accusing Aquino of graft, the Ombudsman alleged in the charge sheet that he “persuade[d], induce[d]or influence[d]Alan La Madrid Purisima, then the Chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP)…to violate the” PNP chain of command, the Ombudsman’s preventive suspension order, and then-OIC PNP Chief Leonardo Espina’s order for Purisima and other then-suspended police officers to stop performing their respective offices’s duties and functions.”
Aquino allegedly used Purisima’s services for “Oplan Exodus” before and during its implementation.
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 contract in March 2014.
In another charge sheet, the Ombudsman accused Aquino of usurpation of official functions under Article 177 of the Revised Penal Code.
It alleged in part that he, “in conspiracy with” Purisima and Napeñas, “cause[d]Purisima to perform and/or exercise the function of the Chief of the PNP over Oplan Exodus prior to and during its implementation…despite accused Aquino III having knowledge that Purisima was under preventive suspension from office…thereby Purisima was under pretense of official position and without being lawfully entitled to do so at the time…”