Parents of 2 troopers in Mamasapano massacre sue Aquino & others; PNoy to counter sue


The parents of two of the 44 Special Action Force commandos killed in the January 2015 Mamasapano incident filed with the Office of the Ombudsman multiple homicide complaint against former President Benigno Aquino III, who immediately threatened to sue them and anyone who filed “frivolous cases” against him.

Also named respondents in the cases lodged by Erlinda Allaga, mother of PO3 Robert Allaga, and Warlito Mejia, father of PO2 Ephraim Mejia, were former Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief Alan Purisima and former Special Action Force (SAF) Director Getulio Napeñas.

The anti-graft agency has in fact ordered the filing of graft and usurpation of authority charges against Purisima and Napeñas before the Sandiganbayan.

Ombudsman probers have also found them guilty of the administrative offenses of grave misconduct, gross neglect of duty and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service that carry the penalties of dismissal from government service, perpetual disqualification for re-employment in government service, forfeiture of retirement benefits and cancellation of eligibility.

The complainants, accompanied by Volunteers against Crime and Corruption Chairman Dante Jimenez, filed reckless imprudence resulting in homicide for his alleged role in the botched Oplan Exodus.

They blamed the three former officials for the deaths of 44 SAF police commandos, including their sons PO3 Robert Alliaga and PO2 Ephraim Mejia.

According to the complaint, Aquino should be held liable for the “brutal bestial deaths” of the SAF commandos “due to negligence, imprudence, lack of foresight and lack of skill in the planning, preparation and execution of Oplan Exodus.”

They accused Aquino of criminal negligence for allowing then suspended PNP Chief Purisima to plan and run Operation Exodus, the botched covert mission to neutralize two terrorists in Mamasapano, Maguindanao.

“Respondent Aquino knows, or should have known, that running roughshod over the chain of command would wreak havoc on the many aspects of Oplan Exodus and would result in confusion, ambivalence and total operational chaos,” the complaint said.

“The President himself admitted that all the communication regarding Oplan Exodus emanating from him to Napeñas, and vice versa, was being coursed through Purisima.”

The complainants want Aquino tried for homicide even though the Ombudsman earlier cleared him of accountability in the incident, despite his appointment of his friend Purisima to participate in the planning of the operation even while he was serving a suspension for graft

Following the filing of the complaint, Aquino said he has told his lawyers to file legal action against those who file “frivolous cases, which are nothing more than harassment.”

“I am curious as to how attorney Ferdinand Topacio intends to support his absurd accusations in connection to the tragedy that happened in Mamasapano. I guess this is to be expected from an attention-seeker such as he,” said Aquino.

“The loss of the SAF 44 is a tragedy. I reiterate that if my instructions to then SAF Director Getulio Napeñas were followed to the letter, perhaps the risks could have been minimized, and this tragedy could have been averted,” he said.

“Let me emphasize: The families of the SAF 44 have experienced so much pain. I am worried that the instigators of this case, to further their objectives, are setting up the love ones of the SAF 44 for even more suffering,” Aquino said.

In July last year, the Office of the Ombudsman said it conducted an investigation to look into allegations of Aquino’s participation in the operation but the special fact-finding panel “found that whatever participation the President may have had in the Mamasapano incident does not amount prima facie to a criminal offense, neither was his participation analogous to any of the impeachable offenses.” (MCA)