FORMER President Benigno Aquino III said Tuesday he was surprised by the decision of the Office of the Ombudsman to file criminal raps against him before the Sandiganbayan in connection with the Mamasapano clash that took the lives of 44 Special Action Force troopers.
“Definitely [I was surprised]. But I want[ed] to make sure, so I asked myself, was I ever charged for this offense or was there a complaint ever filed? And my lawyers responded: There was no such complaint,” Aquino said.
“So to get a decision on something you were not aware you were complained about, and you never had the opportunity to respond to really was a surprise.”
Aquino complained he was never asked to file a reply on the charges filed against him, former Philippine National Police chief Alan Purisima and former SAF chief Getulio Napeñas.
He said he will file an appeal to question his indictment.
“There was no complaint. The complaint would normally be [in] the form of an affidavit of complaint to which you are asked to submit your counter affidavit and refute the facts presented by the complaint,” Aquino said.
“But since I wasn’t complained about with regards to usurpation, we never had the chance to rebut or refute any of the allegations.”
Aquino said there was no usurpation-of-authority case filed but only reckless imprudence resulting in homicide.
The Ombudsman dismissed the case for lack of probable cause.
Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales ordered Aquino charged with usurpation of authority and violation of the anti-graft and corrupt practices act
Also included in the charges were Purisima and Napeñas.
“Former President Benigno Aquino III received the order of the Ombudsman this afternoon [Tuesday] and is currently studying it with his lawyers, with the end view of filing a motion for reconsideration,” Aquino’s former deputy spokeswoman Abigail Valte said.