Aquino formally files appeal on indictment over Mamasapano massacre


Former Philippine President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III submitted a motion for reconsideration over the charges filed against him in connection with the botched Mamasapano operation that led to the deaths of 44 police commandos two years ago.

Aquino filed his appeal before the Office the Ombudsman on Wednesday, July 19, calling his indictment a “misappreciation of facts and specious application of the law” that warrants its outright dismissal.

This comes days after Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales indicted Aquino over his alleged role in the tragic operation dubbed as “Oplan Exodus” on January 25, 2015 in Mamasapano, Mindanao, where 44 Special Action Force (SAF) were slain in an ambush.

In his appeal, Aquino lamented that he was not given the opportunity “to adequately address and refute the charges… prior to the issuance of the Assailed Resolution.”

“Worse, the Assailed Resolution was not only premised on highly inaccurate and flawed facts, but the legal conclusions drawn from these facts were patently erroneous and bereft of any merit,” he added.

The Office of the Ombudsman has recommended the filing of graft and usurpation of authority charges against Aquino, Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief Alan Purisima and former PNP-SAF head Getulio Napeñas.

While Aquino was cleared of homicide charges, the Ombudsman said he should still be held liable for allowing then-suspended Purisima to play a major role in the operation, citing a record of text messages between Aquino and Purisima discussing the operation.

Aquino, however, claimed that no law prohibits from using Purisima as a “resource person.”

“There is nothing irregular, much less illegal, about my act of utilizing all the resources available at my disposal, including sourcing information and inputs from anyone — whether they are in active service or not,” the former president said.

He noted that he ordered Purisima and Napeñas to coordinate with the military about operation in cases of the need for deployment.

Aquino went on to say, “Purisima’s involvement as a resource person and his act of forwarding to me the messages of Napeñas cannot be construed as discharging official functions and thereby violating the order of preventive suspension.”

He also pointed out that the reckless imprudence complaint against him did not cite his liability for usurpation and graft.

Aquino further stressed that the indictment for offenses he was not charged for “does not only go against the rudiments of fair play, but it is also the height of inequity and injustice.”

“In blatant disregard and violation of my constitutionally protected right to be informed of the nature and cause of accusation against me, the Assailed resolution charged me with offenses that are totally separate, distinct and different from the charges levelled against me in the consolidated complaints,” the former president said.

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