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Aquino slams multiple homicide case for Mamasapano massacre.

Former president Benigno Aquino III on Friday slammed the multiple homicide case filed against him for the death of 44 police commandos in the botched Mamasapano counterterrorism operation.

In a brief statement, Aquino expressed concern that the 'instigators of this case, in furtherance of their objectives, are setting up the loved ones of the SAF 44 for even more suffering.'

The Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC) filed the complaint against Aquino at the Office of the Ombudsman, accusing him of reckless imprudence resulting in homicide for his alleged role in the 'Oplan Exodus' operation that led to the deaths of 44 elite troopers of the Special Action Force (SAF) on January 25 last year in Mamasapano, Maguindanao.

Also named in the complaint were dismissed former Philippine National Police (PNP) Director General Alan Purisima and former SAF Director Getulio Napenas. The complainants said that Aquino should not have included Purisima in the planning because the latter was then serving a suspension order from the Ombudsman.

'The loss of the SAF 44 is a tragedy. I reiterate that if my instructions to then-SAF Director Getulio Napenas were followed to the letter, perhaps the risks of the operation could have been minimized, and that this tragedy could have been averted,' Aquino said.

'Let me emphasize: The families of the SAF 44 have experienced so much pain. I am worried that the instigators of this case, in furtherance of their objectives, are setting up the loved ones of the SAF 44 for even more suffering,' he added.

Aquino had instructed Napenas to coordinate with the military and follow the ceasefire mechanisms before launching the operation against Malaysian terrorist Zulkifli bin Hir alias Marwan in Maguindanao.

But instead of coordinating with the military, Napenas followed a so-called 'time on target' concept, where he informed the Armed Forces in the area of his operation after Marwan had been taken down.

Napenas also failed to follow the ceasefire mechanisms, which is part of the peace negotiations between government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

The VACC and the SAF 44 families were represented by lawyer Ferdinand Topacio.

'I am curious as to how Atty. Ferdinand Topacio intends to support his absurd accusations in connection with the tragedy that happened in Mamasapano. I guess this is to be expected from an attention-seeker such as he,' Aquino said.

In his statement, it was apparent that Aquino is already expecting more cases to be filed against him, now that he has returned to being an ordinary citizen.

He said that such cases would be 'nothing more than harassment.'

'I have instructed my lawyers to study possible actions at the appropriate time against those who instigate the filing of frivolous cases, which are nothing more than harassment,' Aquino said.

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Publication:Philippines Daily Inquirer (Makati City, Philippines)
Geographic Code:9PHIL
Date:Jul 1, 2016
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