SC halts Aquino, et al. arraignment in Mamasapano case
MANILA (Philippines News Agency) — The Supreme Court has issued a temporary restraining order (TRO) to halt the proceedings of the Sandiganbayan in the case filed by the Office of the Ombudsman against former President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III and former police officials over the January 2015 Mamasapano clash that resulted to the death of more than 60 people, including 44 members of the elite Philippine National Police-Special Action Force (PNP-SAF).
In a resolution dated Feb. 7 but was released to the media on Friday, the High Court’s First Division granted Solicitor General Jose Calida’s plea to stop the Ombudsman from implementing its resolutions which downgraded cases against Aquino as well as proceedings on the cases at the Sandiganbayan.
“Effective immediately, and continuing until further orders from this court, (the) Ombudsman, and/or persons acting upon your orders are hereby enjoined from implementing the assailed (orders),” the court said.
The arraignment was supposedly scheduled on Thursday, February 15.
Aside from issuing a TRO, the High Court included the Sandiganbayan as a respondent in the case as it ordered the anti-graft court to postpone the arraignment of Aquino for “a less serious offense of usurpation of authority and graft”.
In November last year, the Office of the Ombudsman indicted Aquino for usurpation of official functions under Article 177 of the Revised Penal Code and violation of Section 3(a) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.
Calida asked the SC to nullify the Ombudsman’s decision to dismiss charges of reckless imprudence resulting in multiple homicide lodged against Aquino, former Philippine National Police chief Alan Purisima, and former Special Action Force director Getulio Napeñas Jr.
Aside from Aquino, he also wanted Purisima and Napeñas be charged with 44 counts of reckless imprudence resulting in homicide.
On Jan. 25, 2015, the slain police commandos were deployed to Mamasapano to capture wanted terrorists Marwan and Abdul Basit Usman.
Marwan, a Malaysian bomb maker with a bounty from the US government, was killed during the operations.
The operation resulted in the death of Marwan but also sparked a fierce encounter that claimed the lives of 44 SAF troopers. (PNA)