Criminal raps filed vs ex-President Aquino over Mamasapano tragedy

MANILA — The Office of the Ombudsman on Wednesday filed charges before the Sandiganbayan against former President Benigno S. “Noynoy” Aquino III in connection with the Mamasapano tragedy.

The complaint stemmed from Aquino’s alleged role in the anti-terrorist operation that led to the massacre of 44 Philippine National Police-Special Action Force (PNP-SAF) troopers in Mamasapano, Maguindanao on Jan. 25, 2015.

In the case information, Aquino is facing one count each for violation of Section 3(a) of Republic Act No. 3019, or the “Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act”, and usurpation of official function as defined under Article 177 of the Revised Penal Code (RPC).

The Ombudsman indicted Aquino last July with usurpation of authority under 177 of the RPC and violation of Section 3(a) of RA No. 3019.

Co-accused in the case are former PNP chief Director General Alan Purisima and former PNP-SAF Director Getulio Napeñas, Jr.

Almost 400 PNP-SAF troopers went to Mamasapano, Maguindanao on the midnight of Jan. 24, 2015 in pursuit of wanted terrorist Zulkifli Bin Hir alias “Marwan”.

The operation, dubbed as “Oplan Exodus”, neutralized Marwan, but resulted in an encounter with members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) and private armed groups (PAGs).

Forty-four PNP-SAF commandos died as they were moving out of the area.

The Ombudsman noted that Aquino continued to receive Purisima’s advice, as shown on text messages presented in the Senate probe on the massacre, despite the police official’s suspension over the alleged anomalous courier service deal the PNP entered under his leadership.

Aquino filed a motion for reconsideration (MR) where he argued that he was only exercising his duty to maximize all government resources available to ensure the success of the operation.

However, the Ombudsman denied the motion as well as the MR of the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption to reconsider the charges of reckless imprudence resulting to multiple homicide against Aquino.