SC stops Ombudsman on Mamasapano

The Supreme Court has temporarily blocked the Office of the Ombudsman from absolving former President Benigno Aquino III in the multiple homicide charge filed against him in connection with the deaths of 44 police commandos in Mamasapano, Maguindanao, in 2015.

Acting on a motion filed by relatives of some of the slain Special Action Force (SAF) troopers, the high tribunal’s First Division directed the Ombudsman to temporarily set aside its two decisions that saved Aquino from standing trial for reckless imprudence resulting in multiple homicide in the tragic operation to kill Malaysian bomb expert Zulkifli bin Hir, alias Marwan.

Arraignment stopped

The high court also included the Sandiganbayan as respondent in the case, ordering the antigraft court to postpone Aquino’s arraignment for a less serious offense of usurpation of authority and graft.

Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, who was appointed by Aquino, issued the order as chair of the First Division.

Less serious crime

Also impleaded in the case were Aquino’s close friend and former Philippine National Police Director General Alan Purisima, as well as sacked SAF Director Getulio Napeñas.

“(E)ffective immediately, and continuing until further orders from this court…(the) Ombudsman, and/or persons acting upon your orders…are hereby enjoined from implementing the assailed (orders),” the court said in a Feb. 7 decision, released only on Friday.

In July last year, the Ombudsman ordered the indictment of Aquino, Napeñas and Purisima for violation of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, for their role in the disastrous Mamasapano operation.

But they were cleared of the more serious charge of reckless imprudence, a decision that the Office of the Solicitor General said was a “wanton disregard of the sufficiency of evidence.”

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