MANILA - Former President Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III on Friday posted bail for the graft and usurpation of authority charges filed against him at the Sandiganbayan for his role in the botched 2015 Mamasapano anti-terror raid.
Aquino posted a P40,000 bail ahead of the issuance of a warrant of arrest.
He was accompanied by his sisters Maria Elena "Ballsy" Aquino-Cruz, Aurora Corazon “Pinky” Aquino-Abellada, and Victoria Elisa “Viel” Aquino Dee; his cousin, Sen. Bam Aquino; fellow Liberal Party leader Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon, and his former spokespersons Abigail Valte and Edwin Lacierda.
The Ombudsman had indicted 57-year-old Aquino for allowing the then suspended chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP) Alan Purisima to oversee the commando operation to arrest Malaysian bomb-maker Zulkifli bin Hir alias Marwan.
Marwan was killed during the raid in the remote Mamasapano town in Maguindanao, but a resulting firefight with Moro Islamic Liberation Front rebels in the area left 44 elite police officers dead and set back peace negotiations with the rebel group.
Similar charges were earlier filed against Purisima and former PNP Special Action Force chief Getulio Napeñas.
The former president's case has been assigned to the Sandiganbayan 3rd division, chaired by Presiding Justice Amparo Cabotaje-Tang, an Aquino appointee.
Tang assured the public that the court would not give special considerations in hearing Aquino's case.
Aquino had sought to overturn his indictment, saying the anti-terror mission was not his fault and that it was Napeñas who allegedly disobeyed orders to coordinate with the Army.