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PNoy asks Sandiganbayan: Dismiss raps over Mamasapano massacre

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Former President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III has asked the Sandiganbayan 4th Division to the dismiss the case against him in connection with the deaths of 44 members of the Police Special Action Force (SAF) in Mamasapano, Maguindanao in 2015.

Aquino’s legal counsel, lawyer Romeo Fernandez submitted on Friday (January 12) before the court a motion to quash graft and usurpation of official function charges filed against him.

Because of this, the 4th Division had to postpone Aquino’s arraignment on Friday and pushed it back to February 15.

In his motion, Aquino asked the court to quash the case for “failing to state a violation” of the charges and “for being filed by the Ombudsman without authority.”

The Office of the Ombudsman filed the case before the Sandiganbayan after finding probable cause to indict him.

Also named as his co-accused are former Philippine National Police (PNP) Director General Alan Purisima and former SAF Director Getulio Napeñas.

In a resolution issued last July, Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales said “there is no gainsaying that President Aquino was fully aware that the Office of the Ombudsman had placed Purisima under preventive suspension at that time [for the anomalous Werfest deal].”

In spite of this, Morales noted the text messages exchanged between Aquino and Purisima showed the former police chief still played a major role in the botched operation.

“The fact remains that, at the time, particularly before and during the actual implementation of Oplan Exodus, Purisima was under preventive suspension, and that Purisima, despite being under preventive suspension, indeed played an active role in Oplan Exodus, as shown by all the record of SMS exchanges and findings in the Senate Committee Report on the Mamasapano incident, to the point that he was exercising a degree of authority and discretion over Napeñas and consequently, over the operation,” she said in the resolution.

The Ombudsman explained “certainly a public officer who is under preventive suspension in barred from performing any public functions and from meddling into the affairs of the government.”

“In other words, Purisima would not have been placed in such a position of continuing to conduct himself, in relation to Oplan Exodus, in a manner as if he was not under preventive suspension at that time, from his position as PNP chief, were it not for the complicity and influence of President Aquino,” she stressed.