Former President Aquino was charged with multiple homicide before the Ombudsman yesterday in connection with the deaths of 44 Philippine National Police-Special Action Force members in the botched Mamasapano, Maguindanao operation last year.
The criminal complaint was lodged by a father and a mother of two slain SAF troopers with the help of the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption a day after Aquino lost his immunity from suit upon leaving office.
Dismissed PNP chief Director General Alan L.M. Purisima and former SAF chief Director Getulio P. Napeñas were also included in the case.
Erlinda Allaga, mother of deceased PO3 Robert Allaga, and Warlito Mejia, father of PO2 Epraim Mejia, said Aquino, Purisima, and Napenas were responsible “for the brutally bestial deaths of their children due to negligence, lack of foresight, and lack of skill in the planning, preparation, and execution of “Oplan: Exodus.”
They accused Aquino of criminal negligence by allowing then suspended PNP chief Purisima to run the operation to capture two high-value terrorists, Zulkifli Bin Hir, alias “Marwan,” and Abdul Basit Usman.
“Purisima had no legal authority over the elements of the entire PNP, including members of the SAF 44. Respondent Aquino knows or should have known, that running roughshod over the chain-of-command would wreak havoc on so many aspects of Oplan: Exodus and would result in confusion and total operational chaos,” they added.
The complainants also charged Purisima of usurpation of authority because upon his instructions, Oplan Exodus was kept secret to then Interior and Local Government Secretary Manuel A. Roxas II and the PNP officer-in-charge, Deputy Director General Leonardo Espina.
Napeñas was accused of taking unlawful orders from Purisima, knowing that he has no legal authority over the PNP due to his suspension by the Ombudsman in connection with a courier service contract. (Jun Ramirez)