The Supreme Court (SC) turned down a suit questioning the decision of former Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales to dismiss the complaints for multiple counts of reckless imprudence resulting in multiple homicide against former President Benigno C. Aquino III, former Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Alan M. Purisima, and former PNP Special Action Force director Getulio Napeñas.
In a press briefing, SC spokesperson Brian Keith Hosaka said the Court unanimously ruled that the Office of the Ombudsman committed no “grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction” in dismissing the complaints for 44 counts of reckless imprudence resulting in multiple homicide.
“The petition is dismissed. The Ombudsman’s consolidated resolution dated June 13,2017 and consolidated order dated September 5, 2017 are affirmed insofar as they found no probable cause to charge private respondents Benigno Simeon C. Aquino III, Alan M. Purisima and Getulio Napeñas with reckless imprudence resulting in multiple homicide,” Hosaka quoted the ruling.
In August, the SC lifted the temporary restraining order (TRO) over the lighter graft and usurpation charges filed by Morales against Aquino which she decided to initiate instead of the reckless imprudence charges.
Prior to its lifting, the TRO had frozen proceedings in charges in connection with the ill-planned Jan. 25, 2015 Mamasapano incident which resulted in the death of 60 individuals, including 44 members of the Special Action Force (SAF)’s 55th Special Action Company and the 84th Special Action Company/Seaborne, in an operation to serve warrants on terrorists Zulkifli Bin Hir, alias “Marwan”, and Abdul Basit Usman.
The TRO had prevented the Sandiganbayan’s Fourth Division from ruling on a motion filed by Ombudsman Samuel Martires to withdraw the charges of graft and usurpation of public office filed by former Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales against Aquino.
The said charges filed by Morales had been denounced as “weak” by a group representing the victims and has called for charges of reckless imprudence resulting into multiple homicide, instead.
Aquino and all of the accused had not yet been arraigned on the “lighter” charges initiated by Morales and thus no double jeopardy would set in the meantime.
In February 2018, the SC’s First Division issued the TRO against the Ombudsman and the Sandiganbayan from proceeding with the trial of the charges filed with the Sandiganbayan in November 2017, during the term of Morales. (PNA)
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