Aquino faces criminal raps in connection with Mamasapano incident

Former President Benigno Aquino 3rd is to face charges from the Office of the Ombudsman in connection with the deaths of 44 police commandos in Mamasapano in the Maguindanao in 2015, according to a report in The Manila Times on Sunday.

In a statement released on Friday, the Ombudsman also cited as Aquino’s co-respondents former Philippine National Police chief Alan Purisima and former PNP Special Action Force head Getulio Napenas.

Aquino, Purisima and Napenas are to be charged with graft and usurpation of authority before the Sandiganbayan.

In December, the Ombudsman ordered Purisima suspended from duty for six months pending probe into the alleged anomalous courier deal forged by the PNP with the Werfast Documentation Agency Inc. in 2011.  The PNP scrapped the deal in March 2014.

Despite the suspension, Aquino relied on Purisima, a trusted aide, to plan and enforce “Oplan Exodus”operation to arrest Malaysian terrorist Zulkifli bin Hir, alias Marwan, in Mamasapano by members of the PNP-SAF.

The Ombudsman said a public officer who is under preventive suspension is barred from performing any public functions and from meddling into the affairs of the government.

Marwan was killed in the botched raid in January 2015, but an ensuing gunbattle with Muslim insurgents resulted in the deaths of 60 people, including 44 police commandos.

Aquino’s spokesman Abigail Valte said the former president would ask the Ombudsman for a reconsideration of the case.

The Liberal Party stands by Aquino, saying he will be able to defend his actions in the Mamasapano incident.

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