MANILA – The Sandiganbayan has approved the Office of the Ombudsman’s motion to pull out graft and usurpation charges filed against former president Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III.
Ombudsman Samuel Martires said that the pulling out of the case, which was filed by his predecessor Conchita Carpio-Morales, was due to lack of evidence.
He added his decision was after reviewing previous Ombudsman Resolutions, which dismissed the complaint for reckless imprudence resulting in multiple homicide against Aquino, former Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Alan Purisima and former Special Action Force (SAF) chief Getulio Napeñas.
“Considering that the records of the present cases are bereft of any evidence that would merit further proceedings as against accused Aquino for the charges in violation of Section 3 of RA 3019 and usurpation of official functions under Article 177 of the Revised Penal Code, the Court finds that the dismissal of the said cases is indeed warranted,” the Sandiganbayan Fourth Division said.
The Sandiganbayan verdict, however, does not prevent government prosecutors from filing other charges against Aquino.
“Wherefore, premises considered, the subject motion to withdraw information is hereby granted. Accordingly, the criminal cases filed against Benigno Aquino III are dismissed without prejudice to the filing of the appropriate charges against him,” it said.
The 44 PNP-SAF commandos were killed by a combined force of Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters and members of other rebel groups in an operation to get terrorist Zulkifli bin Abdul Hir alias “Marwan.”
Aquino was charged for allegedly allowing Purisima to take part in the planning of the operation even if the latter had been suspended by then-Ombudsman Morales over his alleged involvement in an anomalous government contract with courier firm Werfast./PN