Aquino to appeal Ombudsman decision
MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Former president Benigno Aquino III will appeal the Ombudsman’s decision indicting him for his role in the bloody anti-terror operation in Mamasapano, Maguindanao, that killed more than 60 Filipinos, including 44 elite policemen.
In a statement on Friday, July 14, Aquino spokesperson Abigail Valte said the former president “received the order of the Ombudsman this afternoon and is currently studying it with his lawyers, with the end view of filing a motion for reconsideration.”
Valte added: “An initial reading shows that there may have been a misappreciation of some facts surrounding the incident, leading to some erroneous conclusions. He will seek to clarify the same through a motion for reconsideration." (READ: What did Aquino know?)
On Friday, Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales, an appointee of Aquino, ordered the filing of graft and usurpation of authority charges against the ex-president for allowing a suspended National Police chief, Alan Purisima, to take part in the botched operation.
The 2015 Mamasapano incident was the worst crisis to hit the Aquino administration, with some saying it sealed the fate of Aquino's choice for president, Manuel "Mar" Roxas II, who was interior secretary at the time.
Roxas himself was kept out of the loop in the Mamasapano operation. He lost to Rodrigo Duterte in the 2016 presidential race.
Senator Grace Poe, who led the Senate probe into Mamasapano, expressed the hope that "in the end, justice will truly be served." She said: "Let us allow the mandated legal institutions to perform their duties as they act on this case and allow the former president to present his defense." (READ: Senate draft report on Mamasapano: Aquino must bear responsibility)
Reacting to Aquino's indictment, Senator Panfilo Lcason said that "as a friend and former colleague in the Senate, I feel for former president Aquino as he stands trial before a court of law."
Lacson urged Aquino "to get the best lawyers to handle his case."
The former National Police chief was on the run for a period of time over kidnapping charges until Aquino became president. He said, "I join those who are praying that he will be able to withstand the pressure. I've been there myself and I know how it feels."
Senator Bam Aquino, a cousin of the former president, said: "We are confident that former President Aquino will sufficiently answer the charges laid before him and be vindicated. During the concluded Senate investigations, the former President was candid and transparent with his role and involvement in the Mamasapano tragedy." – Rappler.com