MANILA, Philippines – Families of several elite cops killed in the Mamasapano encounter in 2015 have asked the Office of the Ombudsman to reconsider its decisision to clear former president Benigno Aquino III of charges of reckless imprudence resulting in homicide.
Lian Buan reports. – Rappler.com
FELICITAS NACINO, SAF 44 MOTHER: Parents like me are working to give justice to our sons.
More than two years have passed, but the ghosts of the botched mamasapano operation still haunt the mothers of special action force troops who died.
On Wednesday, they file an appeal before Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales to reinstate charges in their initial complaint — 44 counts of reckless imprudence resulting in homicide against former president Benigno Aquino III.
Morales earlier dismissed these and instead ordered the filing of graft and usurpation of authority against Aquino.
This is for allowing former national police chief Alan Purisima to participate in Oplan Exodus, despite his suspension at the time.
The indictment does not satisfy the grieving mother left to explain to her grandchildren why their father has not yet come home.
FELICITAS NACINO, SAF 44 MOTHER: "Hindi po kami makapag move on, lalo na nakikita namin ang mga apo namin, lumalaki po sila, hinahanap po nila ang kanilang mga ama. aAg apo ko, hinahanap ang tatay niya, nasaan, nasaan ang tatay bakit hindi raw umuuwi, tawagan mo nanay si tatay para umuwi..."
(We cannot move on, especially that we see our grandchildren are growing up without a father. They're still looking for their father. They ask their mother, 'where is he? call him, tell him to come home.)
TELLY SOMBILLA, SAF 44 MOTHER: "Parang consuela de bobo lang, hindi makatarungan, hindi patas ang hustisya dito, bakit, dahil sila makapangyarihan, kami mahirap lang?"
(it's like a consolation. it's not justified, it's not fair. Why, because they are powerful and we are poor?)
Graft has a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison, usurpation 4 years.
Reckless imprudence resulting in homicide only has a maximum 4-year jailtime.
FERDINAND TOPACIO, VACC LAWYER: "We're looking at 4 years in reckless imprudence times 44, yun po ang dapat pagbayaran ni pangulong aquino dahil 44 na buhay ang kanyang inutang, yun ang dapat bayaran."
(We're looking at 4 years in reckless imprudence multiplied by 44. It's what President Aquino needs to pay for.)
Aquino also files his appeal before Morales but it is done discreetly.
Aquino earlier said he was never given a chance to answer the complaints of graft & usurpation of authority, only the reckless imprudence resulting in homicide charge which was already dismissed.
But Aquino says he is confident he will also be cleared of the new charges.
Lian Buan, Rappler, Quezon City.