‘Criminal case vs PNoy will set bad precedent’
Senator Antonio Trillanes IV has warned the filing of criminal charges against former President Benigno Aquino III in connection with the Mamasapano incident can set a “bad precedent” in case of any failed missions by the Philippine National Police and the Armed Forces of the Philippines in the future.
“It will set a bad precedent because the commander-in-chief can be charged in case of failed mission of the Armed Forces of the Philippines [AFP] and Philippine Nwtional Police [PNP],” he said.
“That should not be the case.”
However, Trillanes said the Ombudsman’s filing of graft and usurpation charges against Aquino before the Sandiganbayan proved wrong President Rodrigo Duterte in accusing Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales of partiality.
Morales is an appointee of Aquino.
“It shows the objectivity of the Ombudsman, that it’s not taking side regardless of the outcome [of their investigation],” said Trillanes.
“Right or wrong, they do not choose, contrary to what Mr. Duterte has been saying. If he was being investigated, biased, but since this came out, this was an indication of objectivity,” noted Trillanes.
The opposition senator also said Aquino should not be the one charged. Instead, he said it should be former Philippine National Police-Special Action Force director Getulio Napeñas who was responsible for the ill-fated encounter in Mamasapano, Maguindanao in 2015.
The bloody encounter between MILF snd BIFF fighters and government forces resulted to the deaths of 44 police commandos.
Taking the cudgels for the former President, Trillanes said there is no negligence on the part of Aquino since Napeñas had command of the more than 400 SAF troopers on the midnight of January 25, 2015 in pursuit of wanted terrorist Zulkifli Bin Hir alias Marwan.
“He (Aquino) gave the order to Mr. Napeñas and gave resources, so for us, you should be responsible if it failed,” said Trillanes
“Hindi mo puwedeng isisi sa taas, sa presidente yung kapalpakan mo na sabihin e ‘kaya ako pumalpak kasi binigyan ako ng order ng presidente.’ Hindi puwede yun,” added Trillanes.
Trillanes said he believes Aquino can defend himself in the anti-graft court, saying the former chief executive is not liable for the offense charged against him, particularly the usurpation of official function.
“He cannot be charged with usurpation of authority as commander-in-chief... negligence on the part of the president,” Trillanes said.
Napeñas and former PNP chief Alan Purisima are facing trial at the Sandiganbayan Fourth Division for their role in the Mamasapano encounter.