The Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC) on Saturday slammed Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales for recommending downgraded charges against former President Benigno Aquino III over the massacre of 44 police commandos in Mamasapano, Maguindanao in 2015.
“The VACC condemns the resolution made by Morales. Why? Because we filed a criminal complaint not just a mere administrative or minor criminal offense which is usurpation,” VACC founding chairman and president Dante Jimenez.
The group filed complaints of multiple homicide against Aquino over the Mamasapano massacre.
It feared that the downgraded charges may only be dismissed by the Sandiganbayan.
“Ombudsman Morales ‘wag mo kaming gagag*hin! Nagngingitngit ang mga pamilya. Tumatawag sa amin bakit hindi raw doon sa finile namin na reckless imprudence resulting to homicide,” Jimenez stressed.
The Ombudsman on Friday ordered the filing of graft and usurpation of authority chargesagainst Aquino over the massacre of police commandos sent to Maguindanao to neutralize wanted terrorists Zulkifli bin Hir alias Marwan and Abdul Basit Usman.
The police commandos were able to neutralize Marwan, but Usman escaped the operation after hundreds of members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters clashed with the Special Action Force (SAF) troopers.
Also recommended charged were former Philippine National Police chief Alan Purisima and former SAF director Getulio Napeñas.
Jimenez alleged that the recommended usurpation of authority charge against Aquino may eventually be dismissed as the former president’s lawyers may play with the “loopholes” on the case.
“Whitewash ito. Leading to dismissal sa kasong ‘to!” the VACC chief said.
In 2016, the VACC together with the families of the SAF 44 consolidated their complaints, which alleged that Aquino committed gross and inexcusable negligence when he knew fully well that the operation was flawed, and breached the chain of command when he allowed Purisima to participate in its planning.
Purisima then was suspended as PNP chief over the alleged anomalous courier service deal the PNP entered under his leadership.
Motion for reconsideration
VACC legal counsel Ferdinand Topacio said they will file a motion for reconsideration on or before Wednesday the Office of the Ombudsman.
Topacio, who represents the families of the SAF 44, vowed that the VACC will exert all efforts to push the homicide case against Aquino.
“The fact na there were 44 who died, bakit graft? Eh hindi naman pagnanakaw ang pinag-uusapan dito e andaming namatay,” the lawyer said.
Topacio also questioned the timing of the Ombudsman’s resolution.
“Pero kahit weekend tatrabahuhin ko ‘to mai-appeal lang namin,” the lawyer said.