MALACAÑANG on Saturday, June 29, distanced itself from the decision of the Office of the Ombudsman to junk the graft and usurpation of authority cases lodged against former President Benigno Aquino III for his role in the 2015 Mamasapano massacre.
In a statement, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said the Palace respects the independence of the anti-graft body.
“The Palace doesn’t interfere with the other branches of the government as well as constitutional bodies,” the Palace official said.
“They have their assigned constitutional functions. They should freely perform their given constitutional tasks without interference from anyone or entity,” he added.
In a motion signed Monday, June 24, Ombudsman Samuel Martired ruled to withdraw the cases against Aquino due to insufficient ground and evidence.
This contradicts former Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales’s previous finding that Aquino “wilfully, unlawfully, and feloniously” allowed then Philippine National Policr (PNP) chief Alan Purisima to participate in the operation in Mamasapano, Maguindanao.
In November 2017, Carpio-Morales filed graft and usurpation of authority charges against Aquino. The Supreme Court, however, ordered in February 2018 to halt the proceedings against the former President.
The cases against Aquino stemmed from the operation against Malaysian bombmaker Zulkifli bin Hir alias Marwan and Filipino terrorist Abdul Basit Usman in Tukanalipao village in Mamasapano, Maguindanao that led to the deaths of over 60 priple, including 44 members of the PNP’s Special Action Force. (SunStar Philippines)