AN anti-crime watchdog on Friday filed charges of usurpation against dismissed National Police chief Alan Purisima before the Office of the Ombudsman for giving orders to the Special Action Force troopers in the Mamasapano operation on Jan. 25, 2015.
The Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption, through its national chairman Dante Jimenez and lawyer Ferdinand Topacio, sued Purisima for the crime of usurpation of official functions.
Jimenez said the filing of a new case against Purisima was brought about by the reopening of the Mamasapano inquiry at the Senate.
“We are using evidence based on the Senate’s transcript that validated Purisima performed official function despite his suspension,” he added.
Despite his suspension for corruption charges filed with the Office of the Ombudsman, Purisima was included by President Benigno Aquino III in a Jan. 9, 2015 meeting at the Palace to discuss details of Oplan Exodus, the covert operation to neutralize two high-profile terrorists in Mamasapano, Maguindanao.
During the meeting, Purisima instructed then SAF chief Getulio Napeñas to keep acting National Police chief Leonardo Espina and then Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas II in the dark about the operation to serve arrest warrants on Malaysian Zulkifli bin Hin, alias Marwan, and Filipino bomb maker Abdul Basit Usman in Barangay Tukanalipao, Mamasapano, Maguindanao on Jan. 25, 2015.
“Purisima bypassed the function of officer in charge Leonardo Espino, and instead gave direct orders to Napeñas,” Jimenez said.
In the complaint, Jimenez said “he [Purisima] could not have legally participated in the planning and execution of the Oplan Exodus while under preventive suspension.”
“Due to his preventive suspension, he could not legally exercise the functions of his former office. Therefore, the acts of respondent Purisima in relation to Oplan Exodus constitute usurpation of official functions punishable under Article 177 of the Revised Penal Code,” the complaint read.
At least 44 SAF troopers were killed during the secret mission.
A Senate investigation found President Aquino “ultimately responsible” for those deaths.
The Palace on Friday fended off allegations from a leftist group that the President was “an American puppet who committed treason” in planning and executing Oplan Exodus.
“There is no basis to the accusations. The interest of the nation is the most important basis of all actions and decisions of the President,” said Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr.
Earlier, Vencer Crisostomo, national chairman of Anakbayan, said the Mamasapano hearings further exposed Aquino as a “puppet of the United States.”
“It has been established that the bloody offensive was a US-backed operation and that US agents, possibly from the notorious Central Intelligence Agency, were directly involved. No less than the puppet President was tapped to direct the operation,” Crisostomo said.
“Clearly, Mr. Aquino has committed treason. To please his master, the obedient puppet secretly mounted an unlawful offensive, tapping a suspended official to monitor the operation for him, thus breaking the chain of command as well as the ceasefire agreement with the Bangsamoro,” Crisostomo added.
This led to the death of more than 60 Filipinos, 44 of whom were police commandos.
“Blood is on Mr. Aquino’s hands. We should make sure that he be prosecuted and jailed,” he said.
Also on Friday, Senate Minority Leader Juan Ponce Enrile said the passage of the Palace-backed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) would have led to bigger problems, including a civil war in Mindanao.
Speaking in a news forum in the Senate, Enrile said he believed it’s a good thing the BBL was not passed by Congress before it adjourned.
He said contrary to the claims of the President, the BBL would not bring peace to Mindanao, because the law would give the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) extensive powers and official position.
“There will be many non-Muslims in Mindanao who will be hit by them. There would be a civil war,” Enrile said.
Those who opposed the BBL also warned of a resurgence of other armed rebel groups that would continue to fight the government because they do not recognize the MILF as their representative in the peace talks.
The military was on high alert in Sulu amid reports that local extremist groups such as the Abu Sayyaf Group would launch a series of bomb attacks in the province.
Brig. Gen. Alan Arrojado, commander of Joint Task Group Sulu, said security was heightened after six Abu Sayyaf recruits were sighted in Jolo conducting test missions.
Arrojado, citing intelligence reports, said the recruits belonging to the group of ASG sub-leader Majan Sajidjuan, alias Apo Mike, were monitored roaming Jolo.
“Apparently, they were instructed by Apo Mike to conduct bombings in Jolo,” Arrojado said.
Reports said the targets of bombings by the ASG were commercial establishments, the Jolo Cathderal, the Jolo wet market, ports, naval vessels, entertainment centers frequented by military and police, Coast Guard Stations and business sites.
The ASG recruits were also told to initiate roadside bombings, he said.
On Friday, members of the Army’s 32nd Infantry Battalion discovered an unexploded fragmentation grenade at a nearby military post in Patikul, Sulu.
The grenade was found at about 5:45 a.m. a few meters away from the Tagbili Detachment in Patikul, a known ASG hotbed.
On Tuesday, an additional Marine battalion was mobilized in Sulu, not only to fight the ASG, but to be part of the government’s bigger preparation for possible flareups after the failure of Congress to pass the BBL.
With Sandy Araneta, Macon Ramos-Araneta and Francisco Tuyay