• MAMASAPANO TRAGEDY

    Purisima pleads not guilty

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    Former Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Alan Purisima pleaded not guilty to charges of graft and usurpation of official functions during his arraignment before the Sandiganbayan’s Fourth Division on Thursday.

    He was charged in January along with former PNP-Special Action Force (SAF) Director Getulio Napeñas over his alleged participation in the mounting of an anti-terrorist operation in Mamasapano, Maguindanao in 2015 even if he was under preventive suspension.

    “Not guilty, Your Honor,” Purisima said after each of the two charges were read to him.

    The court set preliminary conferences where the parties will mark the documentary evidence that they intend to present during trial on April 6, 7, 21 and 28.

    The pre-trial is scheduled on May 3.

    Purisima posted P20,000 bail on January 30 for his provisional liberty ahead of the court’s ruling on whether there is probable cause to issue arrest warrants.

    Meanwhile, Napeñas has a pending motion regarding the issue of probable cause.

    The Office of the Ombudsman found basis to charge Purisima and Napeñas last April.

    The respondents filed motions for reconsideration but the Ombudsman’s office maintained its ruling and filed the charges.

    The police operation, known as 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 killed in the gun battle.

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