Ombudsman ouster pushed for not indicting Aquino over death of SAF 44
AN IMPEACHMENT complaint is being drafted against Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales for her failure to hold former president Benigno Aquino 3rd to account for the killing of 44 police commandos in the botched Mamasapano operation in January 2015, a lawyer of the families of the victims said on Saturday.
The complaint, which will be backed by 20 congressmen, will cite culpable violation of the Constitution and betrayal of public trust as grounds, Ferdinand Topacio of the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC) said in a forum in Quezon City.
Carpio-Morales’ “lack of actions” and “unfair treatment” delayed the filed cases against Aquino, he said.
“If the case had nothing [to do]against former president Aquino, the Ombudsman will take sudden action, but if it’s a case against someone who appointed her, she will take no further action,” he said in Filipino.
“Since the Ombudsman is not doing any further action on the cases against Aquino, our chairman in the VACC Dante Jimenez, will take actions on it to give justice for the slain SAF (Special Action Force) members,” he added.
On Tuesday, Morales filed charges of graft and usurpation of official functions against former SAF director Getulio Napeñas and former Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Alan Purisima before the Sandiganbayan for bypassing the police chain of command.
The Ombudsman spared Aquino, who authorized the operation and allowed Purisima to direct it despite the latter’s suspension because of a graft charge.
“In the case of the slain members of SAF, former president (Aquino) is found to be the most guilty among Napeñas and Purisima,” Topacio claimed, citing the reports of the PNP Board of Inquiry and the Senate.
Napeñas however should not go scot-free in the botched Mamasapano anti-terrorist operation even as he was the “least guilty,” he said.
In July 2016, Topacio filed a complaint of reckless imprudence resulting in multiple homicide against Aquino, Purisima and Napeñas.
Topacio said 20 lawmakers from the House of Representatives will support the complaint against Morales.
Former Negros Occidental congressman Jacinto Paras, now a “proud member” of the VACC, will lead the legal panel that will prepare the impeachment complaint, Topacio said. The complaint will be filed against Morales before she ends her non-renewable seven-year term in 2018.
Aquino appointed Morales to the Office of the Ombudsman in 2012.
Bishops back new Mamasapano probe
Despite irreconcilable differences on a number of issues, Church leaders are supportive of President Rodrigo Duterte’s search for truth and desire to give justice to the relatives and families of the 44 fallen members of the SAF and other victims of the Mamasapano massacre two years ago.
Kidapawan Bishop Jose Bagaforo on Friday echoed the call of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) for the reopening of the investigation and the creation of a “truth commission.”
“There should be a closure on the Mamasapano case… Those responsible should be brought to answer their deeds,” said Bagaforo in an interview with the Church-run Radyo Veritas.
Bagaforo also demanded that the families of SAF 44 be properly compensated.
A similar call was made earlier by CBCP president and Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas, Lipa Archbishop Ramon Arguelles and Marbel Bishop Dinualdo Gutierrez.
“There were inconsistencies in the whole tragic affair. Even the role of the US needs to be clarified,” said Arguelles, a former bishop of the Military Ordinariate of the Philippines, in a statement.
Villegas for his part called for a “full and satisfactory accounting” of the incident and the creation of a credible truth commission, independent of the other government probe bodies, so as not to compromise the objectivity and result of the investigation.
The bloody Mamasapano incident was secretly carried out on January 25, 2015 in Barangay Tukanalipao, Mamasapano, Maguindanao to capture terrorist Zulkifli bin Hir alias “Marwan” and two other high-profile terrorists.
Duterte also wants Aquino to be held accountable for “feeding the policemen to the lion’s den.”
“Let it be brought in the open. It was an American adventure, with the cooperation of some,” Duterte said when he met with the families of the victims in Malacañang.
The President said he will create a seven-man commission to conduct an investigation into the Maguindanao tragedy.
With WILLIAM B. DEPASUPIL