Former president, Benigno Aquino III once again insisted that he is not responsible for the deaths of the 44 members of the PNP-Special Action Force (SAF) in Mamasapano, Maguindanao on January 25, 2015.
Instead, Aquino pointed to former SAF director Getulio Napeñas as the one responsible for the ill-fated operation.
The former president said, Napeñas failed to properly coordinate with other government agencies despite his order to ensure the sufficient number of back-ups for the operation.
He also denied any US involvement in Oplan Exodus whose primary objective was the capture of international terrorist Zulkifli Binhir alias Marwan — one of FBI’s most wanted.
Aquino also cleared presidential adviser on the peace process, Teresita Deles, from accusations that she was the one who advised the former chief executive of not sending air assets since the operation would gravely affect the then peace negotiation.
This was because it was believed that some members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF)were protecting Marwan and Usman.
Aquino denied leading the troops to their death as he emphasized that Oplan Exodus should have been coordinated with the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).
He also has no knowledge where the P5 million-peso reward from the US went to.
Aquino also defended his decision to award medal of valor to only two of the killed SAF members.
He claims he based it on the recommendation of the PNP board, and that it had undergone the right process.
He said he agrees with President Duterte’s measures to reevaluate the awarding of medal to other slain SAF commandos.
Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre, meanwhile, was not convinced with the arguments of the former president.
Aguirre argued that Aquino is just sparing himself from any liability, saying Aquino had a failure in the said operation.
He added that Aquino’s mobile phone should be subjected to forensic examination to determine the conversation he had with the officials who conducted the botched operation.
“He [Aquino] was always saying that [it was Napeñas’ fault]. But he is the one telling a lie. He said he never gave instructions to then suspended PNP Chief General [Alan] Purisima. Then what did he do? He texted with Gen. Purisima and gave orders on what was happening to Marwan and Usman. That means he was on top of the situation. He knows what was going on,” said Aguirre. — Bernard Dadis | UNTV News and Rescue
MANILA, Philippines – A police officer tagged in the 2009 Ampatuan massacre case has surrendered after more than 10 years of hiding, authorities said Wednesday.
Police Officer Ysmael Baraquir of the Maguindanao Provincial Police Office surrendered to the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) regional field unit 15 around 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday in Barangay Linandangan, Pagalungan in Maguindanao.
Police said they took Baraquir into custody based on an arrest warrant for 56 counts of murder signed by Quezon City Regional Trial Court (QC RTC) Branch 221 Judge Jocelyn Solis-Reyes.
Baraquir is also listed in the national level most wanted persons, according to a report to CIDG acting director Brig. Gene. Joel Napoleon Coronel.
Earlier, two massacre suspects were separately arrested by authorities in Maguindanao after the court released last December 2019 its verdict on the gruesome killing.
On December 19, QC RTC Judge Jocelyn Solis-Reyes handed down a guilty verdict to several members of the political Ampatuan clan, including former Datu Unsay Mayor Andal Ampatuan Jr., former Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao Governor Zaldy Ampatuan, Anwar Ampatuan Sr., Anwar Ampatuan Jr., and Anwar Sajid Ampatuan, for their involvement in the murder of 57 people, including members of the media.
Originally, there were 58 victims in the massacre but the 58th person, photographer Reynaldo Momay of the local paper Midland Review, was declared missing after his body was not found in the scene.
The Ampatuan massacre is considered the worst election-related violence and attack on press freedom in the Philippines.
The Sandiganbayan has dismissed the charges against former Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Alan Purisima and ex-PNP Special Action Force chief Getulio Napeñas over the Mamasapano clash in 2015.
The dismissal of the charges against the two former police officers was due to the lack of probable cause to charge them of graft and usurpation of official functions complaints for their involvement in the anti-terrorist operation in Mamasapano, Maguindanao in 2015.
The said operation led to the deaths of 44 Special Action Force (SAF) commandos.
Purisima was charged for still leading the operation to kill terrorists Zulkifli bin Hir or Marwan and Abdul Basit Usman, under Oplan Exodus, despite being suspended as the Philippine National Police (PNP) chief.
Napeñas, on the other hand, was also charged for allegedly conspiring with Purisima.
Based on the resolution, Purisima and Napeñas cannot be charged due to the lack of sufficient evidence.
“There is no mention in the information, nor any evidence on record, that accused Napeñas received or expected to receive any material remuneration or consideration therefor,” the resolution states. “It could not be said that Purisima was under the pretense of being a PNP chief because he was ordered by his president and commander-in-chief to perform such supervision and monitoring.”
Purisima and Napeñas were charged with violating Section 3(a) of the anti-graft law which punishes “persuading, inducing or influencing another public officer to perform an act constituting a violation of rules and regulations.”
Meanwhile, the Sandiganbayan said the dismissal of the criminal complaints did not mean that the two accused had no liability over the Mamasapano clash and appropriate charges can still be filed against them.
“What the court merely ruled is the non-existence of probable cause against Napeñas in both charges and the insufficiency of the allegations in the information filed against Purisima,” the resolution reads.—AAC
Former president Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino has been discharged from confinement at the Makati Medical Center, his spokesperson said on Tuesday.
Former deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said Aquino expressed his gratitude to those who prayed for his health and recovery.
On December 9, Valte confirmed that Aquino was in the hospital for a scheduled routine check-up. This was after rumors circulated that the former chief executive was in confinement due to a heart procedure.
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