MANILA– Families of 44 police commandos killed in the bloody January 2015 anti-terror raid in Mamasapano, Maguindanao want former President Benigno Aquino III indicted for homicide.
This after Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales dismissed charges of reckless imprudence resulting in multiple homicide against Aquino for "lack of probable cause" even as she ordered him put to trial for usurpation of authority and a violation of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act for "criminal negligence."
Charged alongside Aquino were the former national police chief, retired Director General Alan Purisima, and the former Philippine National Police Special Action Force (PNP-SAF) chief, retired Director Getulio Napeñas.
Ferdinand Topacio, counsel for relatives of the slain SAF operatives, told DZMM Saturday that the families will file a motion for reconsideration on the dismissal of homicide charges against Aquino.
"More than command responsibility...[there is] criminal negligence. Kasi sa sobra-sobrang kapabayaan, may namatay po," Topacio said.
"Nakakahinayang. This was a chance to show the whole world na tayo rito sa bansa, kahit pangulo, pinananagot natin sa kapabayaan," the lawyer said of the Ombudsman's dismissal of the homicide charges.
Topacio said the SAF44 relatives would soon be traveling to Manila to sign the motion for reconsideration. He said the legal team is rushing to get travel funds for them as they have to meet the deadline for the filing of the motion.
The botched Mamasapano raid was the deadliest yet for the PNP-SAF, and set back the Aquino administration's bid for peace in Mindanao as members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) were implicated in the bloodbath.
In their complaint filed against Aquino last year, the bereaved families said the former President should be accountable for authorizing the Jan. 25, 2015 operation and for failing to order a rescue as the commandos were being slaughtered.
Aquino's camp is also planning to seek reconsideration of his indictment, saying "there may have been a misappreciation of some facts surrounding the incident, leading to some erroneous conclusions."