By Dominique Gabriel G. Bañaga
Following the recent indictment of former President Benigno S. Aquino III by the Office of the Ombudsman over the botched 2015 Mamasapano operation, which resulted in the deaths of 44 Special Action Force (SAF) officers, local political allies are hoping the issue will soon be resolved.
In a text message from former Negros Occidental Governor Lito Coscolluela, a key Aquino ally, he said, with all the speculation following the incident, the former provincial official hopes the Ombudsman will be able to resolve the issue one way or another.
Justin Gatuslao, a Himamaylan City councilor who served in Malacañan Palace during the Aquino administration, believes the proceedings will “put this issue to rest.”
Last week, Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales, an Aquino appointee, ordered graft charges be filed against Aquino, while dismissing charges of reckless imprudence resulting in multiple homicide.
Morales explained, Aquino was indicted for welcoming the participation of former Philippine National Police (PNP) Director General Alan Purisima, who was suspended from his post at the time.
According to the resolution, the act is in violation of Article 177 of the Revised Penal Code, which pertains to crimes against the public interest.
The law points to “any person who shall knowingly and falsely represent himself to be an officer, agent, or representative of any department or agency of the Philippine Government” that is tasked to perform a duty on behalf of a public officer of the government.
She also noted, Section 3(a) of RA 3019, or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, which highlights corrupt practices by public officials as a result of persuasion or influence to violate rules and regulations.
“Oplan: Exodus,” the nickname of the Mamasapano operation, was tasked to capture or neutralize Al-Qaeda terrorist Zulkifli bin Hir (a.k.a Marwan) and Abdul Basit Usman./DGB, WDJ