(UPDATE 5 – 5:23 p.m.) MANILA, Philippines — Former President Benigno Aquino III went to the Sandiganbayan Third Division Friday afternoon to post a P40,000-bail after usurpation of authority and graft charges were slapped against him by the Office of the Ombudsman in relation to the Mamasapano incident.
According to the Ombudsman’s office, Aquino “willfully, unlawfully and feloniously” allowed in January 2015 then Philippine National Police chief Alan Purisima to participate in carrying out Oplan Exodus in Mamasapano, Maguindanao even though the latter was suspended, which resulted in the death of 44 members of the PNP-Special Action Force.
At the Sandiganbayan, Aquino was accompanied by his sisters Ballsy Aquino-Cruz, Pinky Aquino-Abellada, and Viel Aquino-Dee.
Also with him were Liberal Party senators Paolo Benigno “Bam” Aquino and Franklin Drilon as well as former presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda, and former deputy spokesperson and Abigail Valte.
The former President’s criminal case was just raffled off Friday morning to the Sandiganbayan Third Division chaired by Aquino appointee Presiding Justice Amparo Cabotaje-Tang.
Earlier in the day, Aquino’s relatives and allies flocked to the former chief executive’s residence on Times Street in West Triangle, Quezon City.
The first ones to arrive were Aquino’s siblings and singer Leah Navarro, who is among the leaders of the Black and White Movement.
LP lawmakers were also seen entering Aquino’s residence, including senators Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan, Drilon, and Bam Aquino, Caloocan City 2nd district Rep. Edgar Erice, and Quezon City 3rd district Rep. Jorge “Bolet” Banal.
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