- Former president asked Ombudsman to reconsider indictment
- He expressed surprise at successor’s defense of him amid raps
- He also blasted current justice secretary, said he should keep quiet for ethics’ sake
MANILA, Philippines – Former president Benigno Aquino III has asked the Office of the Ombudsman to reconsider the indictment against him in connection with the botched Mamasapano operation, former presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte told CNN Philippines.
According to Valte, Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales’ recommendation of usurpation of authority and graft charges against Aquino was fatally defective due to a “misappreciation” of facts.
For his part, Aquino said he was surprised that his successor President Rodrigo Duterte came to his defense despite current Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguire II and the Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo openly stating his liability.
“I was expecting, at the most, he would probably be quiet. Because earlier that day and if I remember correctly, previously, Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo said the charge was correct, etc. Secretary Aguirre also said the same thing. And his alter egos suddenly had their principal saying something different,” he told Rappler.
Aquino also blasted Aguirre; saying he should refrain from commenting on the issue owing to his position as a public official and former counsel of retired SAF commander Getulio Napeñas.
“You Aguirre are in a position where you can influence so many different offices. And being the lawyer before of Napeñas, now you are in a different role, ethically you should keep quiet which he said he will, and now he commented again on this,” he said.
Duterte had earlier described the charges as silly and bound to fail because Aquino cannot be possibly held for usurpation of authority.
With regards to the accusations of homicide, Duterte said failures in police and military operations did not necessarily equate to criminal charges.
“There are maybe siguro another damages but not criminal. Kung ganyan lang ang kakayahan ko, mag-order ako bukas. O tapos patay lahat. Tapos sabihin mo, “inorder ko.” Eh ‘yan lang ang trabaho ko eh,” he said. “Ngayon kung manalo o hindi, depende na ‘yan. Pero papuntahin mo doon nang walang baril, papuntahin mo doon nang walang bala, anak ng p***. Murder ‘yan. You know that they will be killed there. Pero kung armado naman lahat…”
[There may be another charge for damages but not criminal. If that’s what it takes to do me in, I will order a similar operation tomorrow. And then everyone dies. Then I’ll say ‘I ordered it’. That’s my only job after all. Now if they win or not, that depends. But if you let them go there without guns and ammunition, son of a b*tch, that’s murder. You know they will be killed there. But if all of them are armed…]