Former president Benigno Aquino 3rd has asked the Office of the Ombudsman to reverse its ruling that found basis to charge him, former Philippine National Police (PNP) Director General Alan Purisima and former PNP-Special Action Force (PNP-SAF) Director Getulio Napeñas Jr. with graft and usurpation of authority in connection with the police operation in Mamasapano, Maguindanao in 2015.
In a motion for partial reconsideration, Aquino maintained that Purisima’s involvement was limited to being a resource person because the latter had knowledge of the operations to capture terrorist Zulkifli bin Hir alias Marwan.
“All of the actions that I carried out during the briefing for Oplan Exodus and its implementation were perfectly within the bounds of my powers and functions as the President of the Philippines and the Chief Executive,” Aquino said.
“There was nothing irregular, much less illegal, about my act of utilizing all the resources available at my disposal, including sourcing information and inputs from anyone — whether they are in active service or not. Certainly, it would be the height of negligence had I not used any and all assets and resources available to me at the time to ensure that I had the full grasp of the operation to be carried out, including the risks and hazards associated with such an operation,” he added.
The operation, known as “Oplan Exodus,” sought to capture Marwan and his protégé, Abdulbasit Usman. Marwan was killed while Usman escaped.
Over 60 people, including 44 SAF members, were killed in the firefight.
Aquino also said that he ordered Purisima to brief former police deputy director general Leonardo Espina, then the officer in charge of the PNP.
He said it was only on January 8, 2015 that he became aware that Espina “had not been included in the loop.”
Aquino also said 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 charges for lack of merit.
Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales last week dismissed for lack of probable cause the complaint for reckless imprudence resulting in multiple homicide against Aquino. However, it 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.