MANILA (UPDATE)—The Office of the Ombudsman has withdrawn its graft and usurpation of official functions complaints against former President Benigno Aquino III in connection with the 2015 Mamasapano massacre.
Ombudsman Samuel Martires, in the motion he signed Monday, June 24, said that after reviewing the cases, he found “no sufficient ground and evidence” to charge Aquino.
The finding is contrary to the resolution signed by former Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales who said Aquino "willfully, unlawfully and feloniously" allowed Director General Alan Purisima, then-suspended chief of the national police, to participate in planning the operation.
Martires, however, said that the withdrawal of the criminal information against Aguino is “without prejudice to the filing of appropriate charges against accused after the conduct of preliminary investigation.”
The decision of Martires comes after the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption and the Office of Solictor General Jose Calida reiterated that multiple homicide charges be filed instead against Aquino for the death of 44 Special Action Force members of the Philippine National Police.
The Sandiganbayan 4th Division, which is handling the Mamasapano cases, is scheduled to hear the motion to withdraw on July 12.
Aquino has insisted that the botched anti-terror mission was not his fault, pinning the blame instead on former SAF director Getulio Napeñas who allegedly disobeyed orders to coordinate with the Army.
The former president also denied holding back military reinforcements to preserve a ceasefire with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).