THE families of some of the police commandos who died in the fighting with Muslim insurgents in Mamasapano, Maguindanao in 2015 are asking the Office of the Ombudsman to charge former President Benigno Aquino 3rd and two others with reckless imprudence resulting in homicide.
“You must note na dito meron nang dalawang reports: The Senate report signed by 22 [then-]senators saying that the finger of culpability points ultimately to [former]president Aquino and the BOI [Board of Inquiry] report made by none less than the CIDG [Criminal Investigation and Detection Group] chief at the time…na nagsabing siya ang culpable dito,” lawyer Ferdinand Topacio of the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC) said in an interview on Wednesday.
(“You must note that here, there are already two reports: The Senate report signed by 22 [then-]senators saying that the finger of culpability points ultimately to [former]president Aquino and the BOI report made by none less than the CIDG chief at the time…who said he was the culpable one here.”)
The VACC is helping the families of 44 members of the Special Action Force (SAF) in filing a motion for reconsideration on Wednesday on the decision by Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales to charge Aquino, Philippine National Police (PNP) Director General Alan Purisima and former SAF Director Getulio Napenas with graft and usurpation of authority before the Sandiganbayan.
In its resolution, the Ombudsman found that the proximate cause of the SAF 44’s death was the “intentional act” of shooting by hostile forces, including members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), and private armed groups.
“Ito, ‘yung kaso mismo na cinite ng Ombudsman, sabi nila, proximate cause can be two things, it can be — ‘yung ‘pag sinabi mong proximate cause, hindi ‘yung immediately preceding the death…Sinabi na nila, it may be that first act which set into motion a chain of events that led to the deaths,” Topacio said.
(The very case cited by the Ombudsman said that proximate cause can be two things, it can be — when you say proximate cause, it is not immediately preceding the death…They already said that it may be that first act which set into motion a chain of events that led to the deaths.)
The Ombudsman said in its resolution that Purisima “played an active role in Oplan Exodus” despite being under preventive suspension.
“Purisima would not have been placed in such a position of continuing to conduct himself, in relation to Oplan Exodus, in a manner as if he was not under preventive suspension at that time, from his position as [then-]PNP chief, were it not for the complicity and influence of [then-]President Aquino,” it said.
In December 2014, the Ombudsman preventively suspended Purisima for six months pending investigation into the allegedly anomalous courier deal forged by the PNP with Werfast Documentation Agency, Inc. in 2011. The PNP terminated the deal in March 2014.
In January 2015, 44 members of the SAF were part of a contingent to serve arrest warrants on two international terrorists allegedly hiding in Mamasapano. The operation, known as “Oplan Exodus”, was allegedly hatched by Purisima.
Muslim insurgents, however, under the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), engaged the SAF in a gunbattle that resulted in the deaths of the 44 police commandos.