VACC asks Ombudsman to reconsider homicide charges vs Aquino

Adrian Ayalin, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 19 2017 02:49 PM | Updated as of Jul 19 2017 04:22 PM

Former President Benigno Aquino III. Joseph Vidal, Malacañang Photo Bureau

MANILA- The Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC) asked the Ombudsman on Wednesday to reconsider the filing of charges of reckless imprudence resulting in homicide and usurpation of authority against former president Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III over the botched 2015 anti-terror raid in Maguindanao province that left 44 elite policemen dead.

Led by its founding Chairman Dante Jimenez, the VACC filed a consolidated motion for reconsideration to appeal the decision of the Office of the Ombudsman to hold Aquino liable for graft and usurpation of authority charges. 

"We are praying na sana si Ombudsman Morales kung hindi man siya mag-inhibit ay bigyan ng pagtingin ang finile namin na reckless imprudence resulting in homicide na 44 counts," Jimenez said. 

The VACC said Aquino, as well as former police chief Alan Purisima and Special Action Forces director Getulio Napeñas, were "principally responsible for the deaths of the 44 SAF personnel" according to investigations led by the Senate and the Board of Inquiry of the Philippine National Police. 

"In not finding probable cause for Reckless Imprudence against respondents in the face of all the above reports - one from the Senate and the other from the PNP - culled from tens of thousands of pages of testimonies under oath by knowledgeable resource persons, some from the highest levels of government, the Ombudsman disregarded jurisprudence to the effect that a finding of probable cause needs only to rest on evidence showing that mroe likely than not a crime has been committed and was committed by the suspects," the VACC said in its complaint. 

VACC legal counsel Ferdinand Topacio explained that aside from reckless imprudence resulting in homicide being the appropriate charges against Aquino, the corresponding penalty for graft is not commensurate to the actions of the Aquino. 

"We are looking at 4 years sa reckless imprudence resulting in homicide, times 44, yun po ang dapat pagbayaran ni Aquino," Topacio said. 

Topacio also criticized Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales for her decision on Aquino, who appointed her to the Ombudsman post. 

"Si Ombudsman Morales wants to have the best of both worlds. Gusto niya ipakitang hindi siya biased and at the same time gawing easy for Mr. Aquino to evade these charges," the lawyer said. 

Some families of the slain Special Action Forces members in Mamasapano, including mothers Telly Sumbella and Felicitas Nacino, joined the VACC in its filing of the motion for reconsideration at the Ombudsman. 

"Dahil ba sila ang makapangyarihan at kami ay mahirap lamang? Bakit mapili ang hustisya?" said Telly Sumbella. 

Some parents of the slain SAF 44 members were among the complainants in the case. 

"Masakit na masakit po ang nangyari sa mga anak namin, hindi makatarugan ang kanilang pagkamatay, huwag po sana kayong selective, makinig po kayo sa hinaing namin," Felicitas Nacino said. 

The Ombudsman last Friday ordered Aquino charged with usurpation of authority and violation of the anti-graft and corrupt practices act.

Aquino said he was "definitely" surprised with the decision of the Ombudsman to charge him with usurpation of authority. The former president will appeal the indictment.