In an interview with The Philippine Star, former President Benigno Aquino III said he was surprised by the resolution approved Friday last week by Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales ordering him to stand trial for Usurpation of Authority (Article 177 of the Revised Penal Code) and violation of Section 3(a) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act (Republic Act No. 3019).
Aquino was responding to the raps in connection with the outcome of the ill-fated 2015 Battle of Mamasapano that left 44 commandos of the Philippine National Police (PNP) Special Action Forces (SAF) dead.
Standing as his co-conspirators are former PNP Director General Alan Purisima and Director Getulio Napeñas of the SAF.
On Monday, Aquino gave an interview to The Philippine Star, where he said that Ombudsman’s decision to charge him came as a surprise. This, he added, was because there had been no complaint filed against him pertaining to those charges.
Aquino told The Philippine Star. “Was I ever charged with this usurpation of the anti-graft provision of talking about inducing subordinates to do an unlawful act? My lawyers said no.”
“So I asked, can I be judged for something that I was never complained about?” the former commander-in-chief continued. “And they said that it is in the prerogatives of the Ombudsman. They can define what the charges should be.”
On January 25, 2015, almost 400 SAF commandos launched Oplan Exodus to serve warrants of arrest against terrorists Zulkifli Bin Hir (alias Marwan) and Ahmad Akmad Uson in Mamasapano, Maguindanao.
44 SAF troopers died in the ensuing firefight.
(Read the timeline of events here: http://www.interaksyon.com/ombudsman-orders-filing-of-raps-vs-ex-president-aquino-for-mamasapano-tragedy/.)
“There was no complaint. And the complaint would normally be the form of an affidavit of complaint, to which you are asked to submit your counter-affidavit and refute the facts presented by the complaint. But since I wasn’t complained about with regards to usurpation, we never had the chance to rebut or refute any of the allegations,” Aquino pointed out.
Watch the interview in the video by The Philippine Star below.