Citing lack of probable cause, the Sandiganbayan has dismissed the graft and usurpation-of-authority charges against National Police Chief Alan Purisima and Special Action Force Commander Getulio Napeñas for the bloody Mamasapano incident four years ago.
“The charges against accused [Napeñas] are ordered dismissed for lack of probable cause, without prejudice to the filing of the appropriate charge/s against him,” the court’s Fourth Division said in its decision.
“The Motion to Quash of accused Alan Purisma is granted. The charges against said accused are dismissed without prejudice to the filing of the appropriate charges against him.
The Ombudsman filed graft and usurpation-of-authority charges at the Sandiganbayan against former President Benigno Aquino III over the January 2015 carnage in Mamasapano, Maguindanao, that resulted in the killing of 44 police special action force troopers.
The filing of charges against Aquino came in the wake of the indictment of his co-accused, dismissed National Police chief Alan Purisima and sacked SAF commander Getulio Napeñas.
Graft and usurpation of authority are criminal offenses under the law.
However, Aquino was the only respondent in the two cases because Purisima and Napenas are facing the same charges at the anti-graft court’s Fourth Division.
“… in dismissing the present cases, the Court does not conclude that herein accused are without any liability in the conduct of the operations of Oplan Exodus,” the Sandiganbayan said.
“What the Court merely rules upon is the non-existence of probable cause as against accused Napeñas for both charges and the insufficiency of the allegations in the Informations filed against accused Purisima.”
Last August, the court granted the motion to withdraw the information filed by Ombudsman Samuel Martires in late June.
The Ombudsman said he found no sufficient ground and evidence to charge Aquino for graft and usurpation of official functions, “being then the president of the Republic of the Philippines during the time material to these cases.”