MANILA – The graft and usurpation of authority charges against former Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Alan Purisima and former PNP - Special Action Force chief Getulio Napeñas Jr. should have been filed 7 months ago, according to Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales.
Morales said, her office rejected the motion for reconsideration of Purisima and Napeñas in June last year, but no case was filed against them before the Sandiganbayan until yesterday.
The Ombudsman said, she has ordered the former records chief of the Office of Special Prosecutor, lawyer Alma Cagat-cagat, to explain in 24 hours why she failed to immediately file the cases against Purisima and Napeñas.
“It was just yesterday when I discovered that it turned out the information was due for filing in June. I presumed that the case was filed. So when it was discovered that it was not filed, I gave a show cause order within 24 hours why she should not be faulted,” Morales.
The Ombudsman ordered the filing of charges of graft and usurpation of authority against Purisima and Napeñas in April 2016, but the two filed an appeal. The anti-graft body upheld this decision two months later.
Morales has yet to determine whether the delay in the filing of cases was deliberate, but she said she would not hesitate to hold the former records chief criminally liable if necessary.
“If we find that there's going to be a criminal aspect of the case, we will certainly file a criminal aspect of the case,” she said.
On President Rodrigo Duterte’s decision to conduct a fact-finding probe into the Mamasapano incident, the Ombudsman said she does not take offense and that the president has the prerogative to order such an investigation.
“Well that's his take. He's the president. There's nothing that should prevent him from deciding that he should have a committee to investigate the Mamasapano thing.
The Mamasapano massacre dealt a serious blow to the credibility and popularity of Aquino, as the operation which led to the deaths of 44 elite policemen was carried out allegedly under the orders of a suspended Purisima. Napeñas also took orders from Purisima.
The suspended police chief was Alan Purisima, who is known for his closeness to Aquino. The military and Leonardo Espina, then the acting PNP chief, were both kept out of the loop with respect to the operation.