There was no criminal offense on the part of President Benigno Aquino III over the failed Mamasapano operation. This is the result of the investigation of the Office of the Ombudsman.
The Special Panel of Investigators in its fact-finding did not find evidence that the President is responsible over the disastrous anti-terror raid in Mamasapano, Maguindanao back in January.
During the press conference, Assistant Ombudsman Asryman Rafanan said that the investigating panel’s recommendation to hold preliminary investigation and administrative adjudication against dismissed Philippine National Police Director General Alan Purisima, sacked Special Action Force (SAF) Police Director Getulio Napeñas and nine other police officers is approved by Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales.
According to Rafanan, the complainants (Fernando Perito, Pedrito Nepomuceno, and Augusto Syjuco Jr.) did not implead the President in the Mamasapano incident. He also said that the panel found that Aquino had no criminal accountability although he authorized Purisima to supervise the anti-terror operations despite the latter’s suspension then due to graft charges.
“Nonetheless, the office motu proprio looked into the participation of the President and the special panel found that whatever participation the President may have had in the Mamasapano incident, does not amount prima facie to a criminal offense, neither was his participation analogous to any of the impeachable offenses,” Assistant Ombudsman Asryman Rafanan said.
“The participation of the President did not amount to a criminal offense as he, in fact, ordered that they should coordinate the implementation of the operations,” he said.
Aquino was washing his hands over his suspected role in the operations and was heaping the blame on Napeñas for breaking his orders to coordinate with the military for reinforcement at the time of the operation which caused him to be harshly condemned.
Aquino authorized Purisima to monitor the operations despite being suspended by the Ombudsman for graft over an anomalous gun license courier contract. This is another factor that caused the President to be criticized.
Purisima, Napeñas, and nine others face a preliminary investigation before the Ombudsman for graft, neglect of duty and grave misconduct over the occurrence in Mamasapano. Meanwhile, Purisima faced an investigation for the illegal use of powers in the operation without any right because of his suspension. Napeñas, on the other hand, was dismissed for supervising the botched operation to hunt down international terrorist Zulkifli Bin Hir and his deputy Basit Usman in Mamasapano town, Maguindanao last Jan. 25. The operation resulted into a tragedy due to lack of synchronization that caused the delay in deployment of reinforcements. The shootout that arose between the SAF commandos and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) members left 44 troopers, 18 MILF fighters and five civilians dead.
Purisima was also sacked from service and because of his administrative accountability over the suspected irregular gun licensing delivery contract with Wer Fast Documentary Agency, Inc. (WERFAST), his retirement benefits were ordered to be deprived.
According to the police Board of Inquiry, Aquino bypassed the police chain of command by authorizing Purisima and Napeñas in the operation while keeping then acting police Chief Leonardo Espina in the dark. He also bypassed the chain of command when he authorized Purisima to oversee the operation despite the latter’s suspension.
Napeñas said that Purisima advised him to not inform Espina about the operation.