THE relatives of the police commandos killed the controversial 2015 Mamasapano massacre are set to file multiple charges of homicide against former President Benigno Aquino III for the wrongful deaths of their kin, their lawyer said Thursday.
Lawyer Ferdinand Topacio said the relatives will be assisted by the Volunteers against Crime and Corruption in the filing charges against Aquino, former Philippine National Police chief Alan Purisima and former PNP Special Action Force director Getulio Napeñas.
After stepping down from office on Thurday, Aquino lost his six-year immunity from suit after the assumption into office of President Rodrigo Duterte.
The Mamasapano clash was an incident that occurred during a police operation, codenamed Oplan Exodus, which took place on Jan. 25, 2015 at Mamasapano, Maguindanao, by the SAF against the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.
The operation was intended to capture or kill wanted Malaysian terrorist and bomb-maker Zulkifli Abdhir and other Malaysian terrorists and/or high-ranking members of the BIFF.
Originally a mission to serve arrest warrants for high-ranking terrorists, it led to the deaths of 44 members of SAF, 18 from MILF, 5 from the BIFF, several civilians and Abdhir himself.
In April 2015, the National Bureau of Investigation and National Prosecution Service recommended the filing of appropriate charges against 90 MILF and BIFF members believed to have participated in the Mamasapano encounter.
On the other hand, the Department of Justice was not able to resolve the complaints of the victims’ relatives despite a preliminary investigation, while the Philippine National Police’s Board of Inquiry came up with the findings that Aquino bypassed the chain of command.
According to a Senate report, the death of the 44 elite SAF members was a massacre, and not a botched operation, and that the police officers were even robbed of their personal valuables and belongings.
With Aquino’s knowledge, Purisima, who was then under a preventive suspension by the Office of the Ombudsman, and Napeñas kept acting Interior and Local Government secretary Mar Roxas and acting PNP chief Leonardo Espina in the dark.
But Aquino’s spokesman, former Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr., said Aquino did his best in serving the country over the past six years.
President Aquino and the members of Cabinet did their best in serving the country and our people during the past six years, h Coloma said. gWe acknowledge that we are accountable to the citizenry for all our decisions and actions while performing our public duty.