MANILA - Former President Benigno Aquino III has asked the Sandiganbayan to suspend all proceedings, including the submission of his pre-trial brief and his impending arraignment, until his motion to dismiss the Mamasapano cases is settled.
In a manifestation with motion filed by lawyer Romeo Johann Fernandez, Aquino asked the court to ”suspend the proceedings pending the resolution of the Motion to Quash Amended Information.”
Aquino requested that he be given 5 days or until February 10 to “submit his Pre-trial Brief without prejudice to the resolution of his pending Motion to Quash Amended Informations.”
“Undersigned counsel is now preparing the Pre-trial Brief. Due to the voluminous documents involved in the case, the undersigned needs more time to prepare the same,” Fernandez said in the manifestation with motion.
In his motion to quash pending before the court, the court was requested to dismiss the charges as Aquino’s supposed actions on the Mamasapano incident were well within his powers as President.
The former President is facing one count of graft and one count of usurpation of authority in connection with Oplan Exodus which led to the death of 44 special action forces, civilians and Moro Islamic Liberation Front members in Mamasapano, Maguindanao in 2015.
Aside from the submission of his pre-trial brief on February 10, Aquino is also expected to be arraigned on February 15, unless the court decides to grant Aquino’s motion with manifestation.
Aquino is facing the charges at the anti-graft court, along with former police officials Alan Purisima and Getulio Napenas, who supposedly implemented Oplan Exodus.
Purisima and Napenas also have pending motions to quash before the 4th Division.
“If the Motion Quash Informations is granted, all incidents and proceedings taken up in the meantime will be rendered moot,” Fernandez said.
Aquino’s lawyer also clarified in their manifestation with motion that it is “not intended for delay”.