Former President Benigno Aquino III, to Face Criminal Charges Over Mamasapano Encounter

Former President Benigno "Noynoy"Aquino III (Photo Credit to CNN Philippines)

Fresh News: On Wednesday, the Office of the Ombudsman filed charges against Former President Benigno "Noynoy"Aquino III over the hard-fought Mamasapano encounter in January 2015.

Sandiganbayan Presiding Justice Amparo Cabotaje-Tang, already confirmed that the cases were filed before the anti-graft court Sandiganbayan at 9:43 AM today.

Aquino will be facing criminal charges for usurpation of authority under Article 177 or the Revised Penal Code that states, "any person who shall perform duties of a public officer "without being lawfully entitled to do so, shall suffer the penalty of prision correccional in its minimum and medium periods or six months to six years imprisonment".

He will also be charge of violation of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, that states, "It shall be unlawful for any public officer to persuade, induce or influence another public officer to perform an act constituting a violation of rules and regulations duly promulgated by competent authority."

It can be recalled that SAF 44, Philippine National Police's (PNP) Special Action Forces, were killed in the town of Mamasapano in Maguindanao, succeeding the encounter with Moro rebels regardless of a call for a ceasefire.

Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales said, Aquino's mistake was he then allowed PNP Chief Alan Purisima to have a major part and role in the Mamasapano operation although Purisima that time was under preventive suspension.

During a Senate hearing in February 2015, text messages between the two was presented and showed their discussion about the mishandled operation.

Morales also reiterated that suspended public officials should be forbidden from operating public functions or in any way will not be allowed to interfere to any Government affairs.

It can also be remembered that last July 14, the Ombudsman freed Aquino from charges of homicide but said that the ex-president will still be accountable for the deaths of SAF 44 members.

Family member of SAF 44 nonetheless said they will file a petition to the Supreme Court to inquest the Ombudsman's decision and would want Aquino to be charged for 44 counts of reckless imprudence resulting in homicide.

On the other hand, last July 19, Aquino made his appeal to the Ombudsman to discard the charges against him, but the Ombudsman scrapped his motion.

Now, the Sandigabanbayan on Friday will be arranging to draw Aquino's case to decide which division will hold the case.

It has been said that once the anti-graft court finds adequate and satisfactory bases, the court may issue a warrant of arrest against Aquino.

Although charges are bailable, which is P30,000 for graft and P10,000 for usurpation of authority, yet if found guilty, the former President will face imprisonment of up to 10 years and will be permanently disqualified from public office.

SourceCNN Philippines

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