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LP on charges vs Aquino: He did nothing wrong

Based on the charge sheet filed before the Sandiganbayan, former President Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III is facing one count of graft and one count of usurpation of authority over the Mamasapano clash in January 2015, which resulted in deaths of more than 60 people, including 44 Special Action Force commandos. File photo

MANILA, Philippines — The Liberal Party on Wednesday maintained that former President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III did not commit any criminal act or violated the Constitution after the Office of the Ombudsman formally filed charges against him over the Mamasapano clash. 

In a statement, LP said that Aquino “only did what he deemed best and right under the situation” after thorough consultation with officials.

“It is unthinkable for then President Benigno Aquino III to make a decision that would endanger the lives of our policemen and soldiers, or parade them helpless in the firing line,” the party said.

It added: “No President, or any father of the nation, would do that.”

Based on the charge sheet filed before the Sandiganbayan, Aquino is facing one count of graft and one count of usurpation of authority over the Mamasapano clash in January 2015, which resulted in deaths of more than 60 people, including 44 Special Action Force commandos.

The Office of the Ombudsman recommends bail of P30,000 for graft and P10,000 for usurpation, respectively. 

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“He will clear his name in court and prove he is innocent of the charges. We believe the court will afford him due process and fair trial,” LP said.

READAquino charged before Sandiganbayan over Mamasapano

Mamasapano incident

In its July resolution, the Ombudsman charged Aquino “for acting, as such, in conspiracy” with then-suspended Philippine National Police chief Alan Purisima in Oplan Exodus which aimed to neutralize Malaysian terrorist Zulkifli bin Hir with the alias Marwan and Filipino bomb maker Abdul Basit Usman.

Purisima, at the time, had been placed under preventive suspension by the ombudsman.

Aside from the deaths of 44 SAF commandos, another 18 Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters and five civilians were killed in the clash, which a police investigation blamed on poor planning, coordination and execution.

Aquino was charged with violation of Article 177 of the Revised Penal Code and violation of Section 3 (a) of the Republic Act 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.

Purisima and former PNP-SAF director Getulio Napeñas Jr. were charged before the anti-graft court earlier.

On July 19, Aquino filed an appeal calling the ombudsman resolution as “patently erroneous and bereft of any merit.” It, however, was junked by the anti-graft body on September 5. 

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