Aquino faces graft, usurpation of authority raps over Mamasapano massacre

Ombudsman orders filing of raps vs ex-President Aquino for Mamasapano tragedy

Ombudsman orders PNoy, 2 ex-police officials charged for Mamasapano

Panelo said Aquino may have used the "power or wealth" to hide his liability over the bungled operation of the elite police Special Action Force (SAF) troopers in Mamasapano, Maguindanao last January 25, 2015 but he could not escape the law.

The Mamasapano massacre also dealt a blow to Aquino's vaunted peace efforts with separatists of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, which had agreed to disarm in return for self-rule over predominantly Muslim parts of Mindanao.

Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales said Aquino should be charged with usurpation of authority and corruption for allowing the suspended national police chief to play an active role in the operation in southern Mamasapano town, which resulted in the biggest single-day combat loss for Filipino forces in years.

The botched operation, kept from the then acting PNP chief and Interior secretary by the trio of Aquino, Purisima and Napeñas, became a national tragedy with the death of the 44 elite SAF men sent to apprehend a Malaysian terrorist in Maguindanao.

In the investigation, Morales noted that President Aquino was fully aware that the Office of the Ombudsman had placed Purisima under preventive suspension during the planning and actual conduct of the operation.

Morales added that "certainly a public officer who is under preventive suspension is barred from performing any public functions and from meddling into the affairs of the government".

Ms. Carpio-Morales said because of Mr. Aquino's "influence" and "complicity", Mr. Purisima was able to participate in the preparation for Oplan Exodus despite the latter being under preventive suspension. It had earlier cleared him of liability for the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP), a stimulus package introduced during his administration to boost government spending from 2011 to 2013.

Former Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte said there may have been a "misappreciation" of facts.

"He will seek to clarify the same through a motion for reconsideration".

Malacañang welcomed the move to have Aquino indicted for Mamasapano, saying that the Palace is hoping that justice will soon be served.

Meantime, under Article 177, Usurpation of Authority is committed by 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, or who, under pretense of official position, shall perform any act pertaining to any person in authority or public officer of the Philippine Government, or any agency thereof, without being lawfully entitled to do so.

Separately, Senator Francis N. Pangilinan, president of Mr. Aquino's Liberal Party (LP), said the LP has "faith" that Mr. Aquino can "defend his actions before, during and after the tragic Mamasapano event".

Jimenez added the Ombudsman should inhibit herself from the case.

The criminal cases arose from a botched police operation to arrest Malaysian global terrorist Zulkifli bin Hir alias Marwan, who carried a $5 million bounty from the United States government, in the town of Mamasapano, Maguindanao province in Mindanao in January 2015.

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