CASES filed against former President Benigno Aquino III will be dismissed soon because the “silly charges” recommended by the Ombudsman were just for show and will ultimately fail, President Rodrigo Duterte said Monday.
Duterte was referring to the order of Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales that Aquino be indicted for graft and usurpation of authority, for assigning his then suspended police chief, Alan Purisima, to oversee the ill-fated Mamasapano raid in January 2015 in which 44 police commandos were killed.
In a chance interview Monday, Duterte said that Morales filed the wrong charges against her ex-boss, Aquino, whom she had earlier cleared of homicide charges in the same case.
“[The case] wasn’t lacking. It’s wrong at all levels. When [Aquino] makes a pronouncement, he can tell anybody he wants. When the President said, ‘Come here Alan Purisima. You are my chief of the PNP. Please help me here.’ What’s wrong with that? He was not usurping [authority],” the President said.
Duterte said that Aquino, as commander-in-chief, could call anybody to help him fight a criminal operation, even Purisima, who was suspended at that time.
“All of those powers are vested in the President,” Duterte said. “The charges… are there to ensure failure.”
Aquino’s ultimate shortcoming, Duterte added, was that he left 44 police commandos to die without reinforcements.
On Friday, Morales dismissed the charges of reckless imprudence resulting in multiple homicide against Aquino for “lack of probable cause” even as she ordered the former president to be tried for usurpation of authority and a violation of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.
Morales’ move to downgrade the charges against Aquino drew condemnation from the families of the slain police commandos and officials of the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption, who wanted Aquino to be indicted for homicide.
VACC founding chairman Dante Jimenez agreed with the President, saying that the usurpation of authority charge was a ploy to dismiss the case against Aquino. He said he would file a motion for reconsideration with the Office of the Ombudsman.
Jimenez likened the case to a bus owner who allows a driver who has no license to drive the bus in which 44 passengers are killed in an accident.
“What case will be filed? Reckless imprudence resulting in multiple homicide,” Jimenez said.
Jimenez also slammed Morales for her decision.
“Don’t make fools of us, Ombudsman Morales,” he said in Filipino. “We’ve long been made fools by a rotten system.”
Jimenez said the police commandos were sent to Mamasapano because of an order from Aquino.
Aquino should be charged both criminally and administratively, he added.
Jimenez said if the Ombudsman does not grant his group’s motion for reconsideration, they would bring the case to the Supreme Court.
Jimenez said they earlier filed a case, together with the victims’ families and survivors of SAF 44, of 44 counts of reckless imprudence resulting in multiple homicide on July 1, 2016, right after Aquino stepped down as president.
A critic of the administration, Senator Antonio Trillanes IV, on Monday said Senator Richard Gordon should revive the investigation into the cases of thousands of victims of extrajudicial killings instead of the ill-fated Mamsapano raid in 2015. With Sandy Araneta, Joel E. Zurbano