Noynoy Aquino charged over Mamasapano massacre; Rodrigo Duterte defends him

Noynoy Aquino charged over Mamasapano massacre; Rodrigo Duterte defends him”

Duterte, in a pre-departure interview in Pasay City, stressed that Aquino did not commit usurpation of authority when he meddled in the botched operation carried out by members of Special Action Force personnel in Mamasapano, Maguindanao on January 25, 2015.

Bail of P40,000 - P30,000 for graft and P10,000 for usurpation - has been recommended for Aquino's provisional liberty.

Senator Trillanes said there was no negligence on the part of Aquino when he ordered former PNP Special Action Force (SAF) commander Getulio Napeñas to launch Oplan Exodus that cost the 44 lives.

Graft and usurpation of authority are criminal offenses under law.

The Ombudsman preventively suspended Purisima for six months in December 2014 pending investigation into the allegedly anomalous courier deal forged by the PNP with Werfast Documentation Agency, 2011.

The 44 SAF commandos were killed in the day-long gun battles that followed a covert operation that killed Malaysian bomb maker Sulkifli binhir, alias Marwan.

Aquino sought reconsideration but the Ombudsman denied it in a consolidated order, which Morales approved in September.

The operation, known as Oplan Exodus, was aimed at capturing Marwan and his protégé Abdulbasit Usman.

The Office of the Ombudsman on Wednesday filed charges against Aquino over the bloody Mamasapano encounter in 2015.

"Aquino fully knew that Purisima was under preventive suspension from office and that it was Officer-In-Charge PNP chief Leonardo Espina who had the authority to oversee the preparation for and conduct of Oplan Exodus, to the damage of public interest", the charge sheet read.

Speaking before his departure from Vietnam, Duterte said Trillanes, one of his staunchest critics, had a "good point" when the latter said charging Aquino for usurpation of authority may set a bad precedent for future operations. "You can not usurp what is inherently your duty", he said. "All those under the appointed officers, all of them are under the control (of the President)", he added.

At least 17 Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters and a number of civilians also died in the clashes.

In July, Duterte branded as "silly" the anti-graft body's recommendation to lodge criminal charges against Aquino.

Aquino's cousin, Sen. Bam Aquino, said in a separate statement he is confident that the former president would face the charges against him and would be given the opportunity to defend himself.

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