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Rody slams ‘wrong’ charges filed vs Noy over SAF deaths

By Ted Tuvera and Angie M. Rosales

While saying that former President Benigno Aquino III should carry the burden of the botched Mamasapano massacre in 2015, President Duterte yesterday said that the recent move by the Office of the Ombudsman to file raps against the former President is a futile effort.
Talking to reporters at the sidelines of the turnover ceremony of the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law in Malacaٌang, Duterte said that the raps mulled by the Ombudsman last Friday are “wrong charges.”
“It’s more of a Moro-Moro. Charging Aquino for that, it’s a silly charge,” the President said.
“I am sure that the charges against Aquino will fail,” he added.
Morales ordered the filing of charges against Aquino for usurpation of authority in accordance to Article 177 of the Revised Penal Code and the violation of Section 3(a) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act (Republic Act 3019).
Standing as his co-conspirators are former Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Alan Purisima and Director Getulio Napeٌas of the Special Action Force (SAF).
Duterte, a former state prosecutor, declined to opine on what charges should be filed against his successor.
But one thing is clear for the incumbent President, Aquino is largely at fault in the botched operation.
“No one, but Aquino should bear the burden of his shortcomings,” Duterte said.
“There was command responsibility on Aquino’s part. The President has control of all departments because he has the power to override orders,” he added.
The Mamasapano massacre occurred during the pursuit operations led by the SAF against terrorist leaders.
Forty-four elite police combatants were killed not by terrorists, but by joint elements of Bangsamoro insurgents, prominently the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).“Indeed, the entire country will benefit from it along with the region for the Bangsamoro people. May this new entity be marked by good governance, equitable sharing of wealth and generation of revenue, and normalized, stable environment,” he added.
Meanwhile, Sen. Richard Gordon’s call for the reopening of the Senate inquiry into the Mamasapano encounter that led to the death of 44 Special Action Force (SAF) officers should be subjected to an executive session, Sen. Win Gatchalian told reporters.
Last time, there is already a hearing in the Senate, so there should be a discussion on the gaps and the need for the reopening of the probe.
Gatchalian added that senators should review the information already obtained from the previous hearings and the need to invite President Aquino.
We need to look at the petition filed by the Ombudsman. I think this should be part of the discussion during the executive session. I think they filed a usurpation case instead of homicide case or command responsibility case. So first, we should talk among ourselves where facts are covered, he added.
The decision to reopen the Mamasapano inquiry is the prerogative of the chairman of the blue ribbon committee, Sen. Grace Poe said, meanwhile.
She, nevertheless, said it would be to the interest of the public and the members of the Senate to know the clear objectives of Gordon in putting forward such proposal. Whatever new and relevant information that can be unearthed from this inquiry, in aid of legislation, will be beneficial not only to the families of the SAF 44, but also to the Filipino people.
“We should be prepared, however, for the possibility that when called to testify, President Aquino will invoke his right not to talk about the case as it is already being handled by the court,” she added.
Poe said whatever disagreement anyone has with the determination of the Ombudsman, her office should be given the opportunity to review the case through the processes allowed by law and remedies given to the parties in the case.
Detained Sen. Leila de Lima, for her part, said almost two years and a half since the Mamasapano incident, Gordon wants to resurrect the dead issue with the added attraction of nailing the former President on the cross.
“This investigation will have no other purpose than to once again crucify the former President, and squeeze this issue for all the juice left and what it is still worth, in order to cover up for the current administration’s own bunglings and incompetence,” she said.
As Sen. Frank Drilon said, with the Ombudsman resolution finding probable cause against Aquino for usurpation of authority, all that the former President has to do in Gordon’s investigation is to invoke his right against self-incrimination, and Gordon can’t do anything about it, she added.

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