The Office of the Ombudsman has upheld its ruling that there are sufficient grounds to file charges at the Sandiganbayan against former Philippine National Police (PNP) Director General Alan Purisima for his alleged participation in the mounting of an anti-terrorist police operation in Mamasapano, Maguindanao, last year despite being under preventive suspension.
Former PNP-Special Action Force (PNP-SAF) Director Getulio Napeñas also faces indictment.
“Ombudsman [Conchita Carpio] Morales directed the filing of Informations with the Sandiganbayan for violation of Section 3(a) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act [Republic Act 3019] and Usurpation of Authority or Official Function,” the Ombudsman said in a statement issued on Thursday.
Section 3(a) of the anti-graft law prohibits a public officer from persuading, inducing or influencing another public officer to perform an act constituting a violation of rules and regulations duly promulgated by competent authority, or allowing himself to be persuaded, induced or influenced to commit such violation or offense.
When sought for comment, Napeñas said in a text message, “Sobra sakit sa akin yan, una paano ako magkaroon ng usurpation of authority that I only acted as Director SAF at hindi ko naman ginampanan trabaho ng CPNP [Chief, Philippine National Police] or OIC [Officer-in-Charge] PNP at isa pa Presidente ang nagutos ng trabaho [That is very painful for me, first of all how will there be usurpation of authority when I only acted as Director SAF and I did not perform the job of the CPNP or OIC PNP and moreover it was the President who made the order].”
“Ang mahirap at hindi maayos ay ayaw pakinggan ng Ombudsman mga statement at reasons ko. Sumunod lang ako sa utos ng Pangulo at kay Purisima na syang designated ng Pangulo na mangasiwa sa operation tapos kaso harap ko ngayon then dismiss pa ko serbisyo [What is difficult is that the Ombudsman does not want to listen to my statement and reasons. I only followed the order of the President and Purisima who was designated by the President to oversee the operation and now I’m facing charges and I’m also dismissed from the service],” he added.
“Terorista ang pinatay namin at ang mga MILF [Moro Islamic Liberation Front] na pumatay mga tao namin ay hanggang ngayon wala pa kaso. Inutusan at nag trabaho lang ako at ngayon tanggal lahat pinaghirapan ko 37 years [We killed a terrorist and the MILF who killed our men until now are not charged. I was only given orders and I did my job and now all that I worked hard for 37 years is gone],” Napenas said.
In April, the Ombudsman held that there is probable cause to charge Purisima and Napeñas.
The respondents filed motions for reconsideration but the Ombudsman thumbed down the same, saying in its order that these motions “deserve scant consideration.”
“Purisima’s active participation and supervision of Oplan Exodus despite the 10 December 2014 preventive suspension order of the Ombudsman and the 16 December 2014 cease and desist order of [then-] OIC-PNP Chief [Leonardo] Espina both issued against him, violated the PNP chain of command and amounted to usurpation of official functions,” Morales said.
She preventively suspended Purisima in December 2014 for six months pending investigation of an allegedly anomalous courier deal forged by the PNP with Werfast Documentation Agency, Inc. in 2011.
The PNP terminated the deal in March 2014.
The Ombudsman later dismissed Purisima and several former police officials in June 2015 after it found them administratively liable in connection with the deal.
Meanwhile, as to Napeñas, Morales said “his constant reporting and official dealings with Purisima, notwithstanding the latter’s suspension, and sans the knowledge and approval of then-OIC PNP Chief Espina, made him liable as a cohort of Purisima in usurping official functions.”
The Ombudsman also found Purisima and Napeñas administratively liable for grave misconduct, gross neglect of duty and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service.
“Napeñas’ plea of leniency on account of his 37 years of meritorious service in government cannot be countenanced by this Office considering that the penalty of dismissal from the service is an indivisible penalty,” the Office of the Ombudsman said.
But because Purisima was ordered dismissed from the service in June 2015 and Napeñas retired in July 2015, it imposed a fine equivalent to their salary of one year as an alternative penalty to dismissal.
They also face perpetual disqualification for reemployment in the government service, forfeiture of retirement benefits and cancelation of eligibility.
Oplan Exodus resulted in the killing of international terrorist Zulkifli bin Hir alias Marwan.
Over 60 people, including 44 members of the PNP-SAF, were also killed in an ensuing gunbattle.