De Lima wishes ‘vindication’ for ex-President Noynoy over Mamasapano case

Detained Senator Leila de Lima has only one wish for former President Benigno S. Aquino III, who has been charged before the Sandiganbayan over the 2015 Mamasapano carnage: Vindication.

The Office of the Ombudsman has  filed graft and usurpation of authority  charges  against  Aquino for allowing then suspended Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Alan Purisima to participate in the planning of  the  Mamasapano operation  that  resulted  in  the deaths of the 44 Special Action Forces (SAF) policemen.

But De Lima, who served as Justice Secretary at the time of the incident, was confident the former Chief Executive would be able to defend himself before the court and prove his innocence.

“President Aquino, as Citizen Noynoy, will now have the opportunity to present his case before our tribunals, of how he, as President, made the difficult choice of ordering the capture of a most wanted terrorist, but with the possibility of casualties on the government side, as what eventually happened,” she said in a  statement on  Monday.

“I have no doubt that, armed with a firm conviction as to the merits or soundness of his judgment call in the light of then available information supplied to him and honorable as he is, PNoy (Aquino’s nickname) is capable of defending himself, not only before the tribunals of justice, but more importantly, before the judgment of history and the people he so faithfully served,” she added.

The senator maintained that Aquino only did what he believed was best during the situation and for the people he served.

“The Mamasapano Tragedy is one of those ‘damned if you do, damned if you don’t’ decisions a President makes. It was a choice between letting a terrorist bomber slip away once again to wreak more destruction on civilians, or capture him with the concomitant risks an operation such as his capture in hostile territory entails,” De Lima said.

“Do we even care how many hundreds of civilian lives were saved, at the cost of 44 of our bravest and noblest? Whether we like it or not, that is how our government asks our soldiers and our policemen to put their lives at risk, and if need be, to be the first to die, in order for us to live in peace,” she added.

De Lima, who has been detained at the PNP Custodial Center over drug charges, said she only wishes vindication for Aquino.          /kga

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