MANILA, Philippines – Former president Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III said in his appeal before Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales that his right to due process was violated when he was indicted of graft and usurpation of authority over the botched Mamasapano operations.
Aquino's indictment was based on his failure to keep former police chief General Alan Purisima from meddling in a police operation he had no business being involved in because of his suspension at the time.
In a motion for reconsideration filed on Wednesday, July 19, Aquino said he was not able to defend himself from complaints of graft and usurpation because all along, he had been defending himself from another set of complaints – that of reckless imprudence resulting in homicide.
Indeed, the 3 consolidated complaints filed by relatives of some of the 44 Special Action Force (SAF) cops who died and the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC) sought to charge Aquino with 44 counts of reckless imprudence resulting in homicide.
Morales dismissed these complaints, saying Aquino's actions were not the "proximate cause" of the deaths of the SAF 44.
The Ombudsman instead decided to slap him with graft and usurpation of authority charges, which have yet to be filed in court since both parties still have the right to appeal the decision.
"In blatant disregard and violation of my constitutionally protected right to be informed of the nature or cause of accusation against me, the assailed resolution charges me with offenses that are totally separate, distinct and different from the charges levelled against me in the consolidated complaints," Aquino said.
While the Ombudsman is allowed to determine what charges are ultimately filed against someone – notwithstanding the specific charge alleged by complainants – Aquino said the difference in his case is huge.
He used several examples such as a complaint of sexual harassment that can ultimately end up as a complaint of acts of lasciviousness. Aquino said complaints like that overlap.
But not in the case against him, Aquino said.
"The offense complained of (reckless imprudence resulting in homicide) and the charges being indicted for are not at all related. Neither do these offenses have any common or overlapping elements," Aquino said, asking Morales to dismiss all charges against him.
Reporters obtained a copy his appeal on Thursday, July 20.