MANILA (UPDATE) - The government's top lawyer has asked the Supreme Court to order the indictment of former President Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III for reckless imprudence resulting in multiple homicide over the deaths of 44 police commandos in a botched anti-terrorism raid in Mamasapano, Maguindanao three years ago.
In a 40-page manifestation, Solicitor General Jose Calida asked the High Court to order the Office of the Ombudsman to junk the graft and usurpation of authority charges filed against Aquino and nullify the Ombudsman's dismissal of the homicide raps.
"Given that the President (Aquino) gave the policy direction to arrest [terror suspects] Marwan and Usman, and that he approved Oplan Exodus with full knowledge of its operational details, the Chief Executive is ultimately responsible for the success or failure of the mission," Calida said.
“[T]he acts of negligence of [Aquino, Purisima, Napeñas] clearly show that probable cause exists to indict them for reckless imprudence resulting in multiple homicide and there is grave abuse of discretion on the part of the [Ombudsman],” he added.
Calida insisted that the Ombudsman committed grave abuse of discretion in dismissing the reckless imprudence complaint against Aquino, former Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Alan Purisima, and former Special Action Force (SAF) chief Getulio Napeñas.
The Office of the Ombudsman filed the graft charges against Aquino in November 2017, saying the former president "willfully, unlawfully and feloniously" allowed Purisima, who was then suspended, to participate in planning the botched police operation.
Calida also urged the Supreme Court to halt the arraignment of Aquino, Purisima, and Napeñas before the Sandiganbayan 4th Division on Feb. 15, and urged the high court to direct the Ombudsman to file 44 counts of the pleaded stiffer offense against them.
Calida's plea came 3 years after 44 SAF commandos were killed in an encounter with Moro rebels in Mamasapano after they neutralized Malaysian terror suspect Marwan.
The bloodbath sparked public outrage and scuttled peace talks between the Aquino administration and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), the country's largest Muslim rebel group.
Aquino had insisted that the botched anti-terror mission was not his fault, pinning the blame instead on Napeñas who allegedly disobeyed orders to coordinate with the Philippine Army.
The former president also denied holding back military reinforcements to preserve a ceasefire with the MILF.
-- report from Ina Reformina, ABS-CBN News