DAVAO CITY, Philippines – A national group representing the Moro people is calling the government to immediately act on the Ombudsman’s order for the filing of criminal charges against former president Benigno S. Aquino III for his liability in the Mamasapano massacre.
Jerome Aba, national chairperson of Suara Bangsamoro, said it is now a challenge for the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte of ensuring that former President Aquino and the rest of the indicted PNP officers will be prosecuted.
“Matagal na dapat yan ginawa!” remarked Aba on the Ombudsman’s decision.
It can be recalled that Suara Bangsamoro and Kalimaw Mindanao conducted their own fact-finding mission after the Mamasapano incident in 2015. Based on their findings, they concluded that Aquino and the US government are accountable to the incident.
On July 14, Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales ordered for the filing of criminal charges against Aquino for his liability in the Mamasapano massacre.
The order was based on an approved Resolution, charging Aquino for Usurpation of Authority as defined in Article 177 of the Revised Penal Code.
Aquino was also charged with the violation of Section 3(a) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act or the Republic Act No. 3019.
Former Philippine National Police (PNP) Director General Alan Purisima and Director Getulio Napeñas of the Special Action Force (SAF) were also named co-conspirators in the resolution.
The order was welcomed by sectoral groups, including Bayan in Southern Mindanao.
“We welcome this positive development on Mamasapano case which is a long overdue given that there is a glaring truth on Aquino’s role in the botched Mamasapano operation,” said Sheena Duazo, spokesperson of Bayan SMR in a message sent to Davao Today.
She said Bayan has always been in the forefront on exposing Noynoy Aquino’s willful violations and the role of US in Mamasapano adding that the group facilitated a people’s hearing in 2015 that resulted to the conduct of a People’s Fact-finding Mission in Mamasapano.
“The hearing made clear Aquino’s responsibility in the bloodshed and shed light on the US involvement in Mamasapano and the plight of the civilians caught in the armed encounter. We hope that justice will be served this time,” Duazo said.
“Accountable si Aquino sa Mamasapano debacle kasi they allowed the US war on terror operation, the Oplan Exodus here in Mindanao,” he pointed out.
The case has been deemed to be a test to the government’s seriousness in resolving the presence of US troops in the country, particularly in Mindanao.
Forty-four members of Special Action Force of the Philippine National Police were killed during the operation that was aimed to neutralize Zulkifli Bin Hir alias Marwan, an international terrorist wanted in the US.
Aba said aside from the SAF fatalities, Moro people were also killed during the raid, to include 37 members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and six civilians.
The Investigation of the Ombudsman also found Aquino’s criminal negligence of Aquino is based on the following acts: (1) participation and assistance in the planning of Oplan Exodus with gross and inexcusable negligence; (2) approving the operation with full knowledge that it was flawed; (3) for allowing suspended PNP Chief Purisima not only to participate in the planning, but also in the running of said operation and proving information and intelligence, thereby giving pseudo-legal power to a suspended official; and (4) breach in the established norms inherent in a chain of command. (davaotoday.com)