CRIMINAL charges were filed Friday against former Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Alan Purisima at the Office of the Ombudsman for participating in the planning of a counter-terrorist police operation last year despite his preventive suspension.
In December 2014, Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales suspended Purisima for six months in connection with an allegedly anomalous courier deal between the police and Werfast Documentary Agency.
“Respondent is guilty of usurping official functions. He could not have legally participated in the planning and execution of Oplan Exodus while under preventive suspension. Due to his preventive suspension, he could not legally exercise the functions of his former office.
Therefore, the acts of respondent Purisima in relation to Oplan Exodus constitute usurpation of official functions punishable under Article 177 of the Revised Penal Code,” the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC) said in its seven-page complaint.
Oplan Exodus was hatched to capture international terrorist Zulkifli bin Hir alias Marwan and his protégé Abdulbasit Usman. Marwan was killed while Usman escaped.
The botched operation led to the massacre of 44 police commandos by members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), and private armed groups on January 25, 2015.
“According to the Senate Mamasapano Report, Respondent admitted in bringing former director of SAF Getulio Napeñas to the President in Bahay Pangarap on 9 January 2015 and confirmed that he advised Napeñas to keep the mission strictly between them and not to inform OIC-PNP [Officer-in-Charge] Espina and DILG [Department of the Interior and Local Government Secretary] Mar Roxas,” the VACC said in the complaint.
It added that in the early morning of January 25, Purisima sent a text message to the President that Marwan was already killed by the Special Action Force and that Purisima at that time had already informed Espina and then-Armed Forces chief Gregorio Catapang as well as Western Mindanao Command (Wesmincom) Commander Lt. Gen. Rustico Guerrero about the clashes.
The VACC said that it will submit in a supplemental pleading a copy of the Senate report.
It asked the Ombudsman to indict Purisima for Violation of Article 177 of the Revised Penal Code for usurpation of official functions.”
The Ombudsman initiated a fact-finding probe in February 2015 to determine who were responsible in the planning and implementation of the police operation.
In July last year, it approved the recommendation of its special panel of field investigators to initiate preliminary investigation against Purisima, Napeñas, and nine other police officers in relation to the Mamasapano incident.
While the complaints did not implead President Benigno Aquino 3rd, the Ombudsman motu propio looked into the allegations on the President’s participation.
“And the special panel found that whatever participation the President may have had in the Mamasapano incident does not amount prima facie [based on a first impression]to a criminal offense, neither was his participation analogous to any of the impeachable offenses,” Assistant Ombudsman Asryman Rafanan said.