Purisima, ex-SAF chief face criminal raps over Mamasapano


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Purisima, ex-SAF chief face criminal raps over Mamasapano
The Ombudsman's special fact-finding panel on the Mamasapano incident recommends filing administrative and criminal charges against 11 police officers, led by former National Police chief Director General Alan Purisima

MANILA, Philippines – Dismissed Philippine National Police chief Director General Alan Purisima and 10 other police officers, including former PNP Special Action Forces chief Police Director Getulio Napeñas, face criminal and administrative charges over the Mamasapano incident, the Office of the Ombudsman said on Tuesday, July 22.

Assistant Ombudsman Asyrman Rafanan said in a news briefing that Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales approved the recommendation of the special panel of field investigators to initiate administrative adjudication and preliminary investigation against Purisima, Napeñas, and 9 other police officers in relation to the Mamasapano carnage.

The panel also absolved President Benigno Aquino III of any criminal liability.

Rafanan said that the Ombudsman’s investigation on the Mamasapano incident showed that Purisima, Napeñas, and Police Chief Superintendent Fernando Mendez Jr may be liable for grave misconduct, and violation of Section 3 the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.

“Under the circumstances of the case, Napeñas, Mendez, and Purisima persuaded or convinced one another to…commit a violation of the law or ordinance as what happened in the conduct of the operation in Mamasapano,” he said. (READ: Purisima, Napeñas gave wrong info on Mamasapano – BOI report)

Purisima also faces charges of usurpation of official functions for his role in “Oplan Exodus,” the Special Action Force operation against terrorist Zulkifli bin Hir or Marwan, and Abdul Basit Usman on January 25, which led to at least 66 deaths, including 44 elite cops. 

Rafanan said Purisima and Napeñas may be liable for neglect of duty along with the following police officers:

  • Police Chief Superintendent Noli Taliño
  • Police Senior Superintendent Richard dela Rosa
  • Police Senior Superintendent Edgar Monsalve
  • Police Senior Superintendent Abraham Abayari
  • Police Senior Superintendent Raymund Train 
  • Police Senior Superintendent Michael John Mangahis
  • Police Senior Superintendent Rey Ariño
  • Police Senior Inspector Recaredo Marasigan

The Mamasapano tragedy, which killed 67 Filipinos and put in danger the peace process with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, was the worst crisis to hit the Aquino government. Aquino was forced to sack Purisima, a close ally and friend. (READ: Majority of ‘Oplan Exodus’ survivors leave SAF)

No impeachable offense in Mamasapano

Responding to questions, Rafanan said that while the Mamasapano-related complaints filed with the Ombudsman did not mention President Aquino, the office motu propio looked into allegations regarding the culpability of the Chief Executive in the botched operation.

“The special panel found that whatever participation the President may have had in the Mamasapano incident does not amount prima facie to  a criminal offense. Neither was his participation analogous to any of the impeachable offenses. So that was the conclusion of the special panel,” he said.

Asked whether Aquino should be held liable for his decision to tap Purisima, who was on preventive suspension at the time, for a key role in the operation, Rafanan explained that the President had ordered Purisima to coordinate with the concerned authorities on the implementation of the plan.

Rafanan also said that in the course of the special panel’s fact-finding probe, military officers were also subjected to investigation but the body only recommended the filing of charges against police officers.

The investigation stemmed from a report of Inquirer Mindanao Online News, and  separate complaints filed by Fernando Perito, Pedrito Nepomuceno and former Iloilo representative Augusto Syjuco Jr. – Rappler.com

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