Prison awaits Aquino: Justice in the horizon for SAF 44 victims of Mamasapano Massacre!


Even as former President Benigno Simeon ‘BS’ Aquino III transitions into civilian life, it seems he still proves incapable of taking with him lessons learned from past experience. Aquino faces charges filed against him by kin of the victims of the 2015 Mamasapano Massacre in which 44 elite police officers of the Philippine National Police (PNP) Special Action Force (SAF) were slaughtered by elements of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front during an operation he personally oversaw.

Aquino was anything but statesman-like when he callously dismissed the charges as the work of an “attention seeker” referring to lawyer Ferdinand Topacio who is representing the complainants. Aquino should, instead, have upheld the right of citizens to seek justice via the appropriate channels. The complaint, after all, is consistent with the findings of a Senate inquiry following the incident in March 2015 in which then President Aquino was found to be “ultimately responsible” for the outcome of the ill-fated SAF mission. No less than Senator Grace Poe who also ran against Aquino in this year’s presidential elections categorically pointed out Aquino’s culpability for the outcome of the operation…

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“Siya na po mismo ang nagsabi noon, bilang Pangulo at Commander-in-Chief, ‘Pasan ko naman po ang responsibilidad para sa anumang resulta, sa anumang tagumpay, pasakit o trahedya na maari nating matamasa sa paghahangad ng pangmatagalang seguridad at kapayapaan’,” Poe said.

“The buck stops with him (Aquino). If he can own up to it I’m sure the people would be less confused,” Poe said.

Having found that the Aquino committed an error, Poe was asked how he could be made accountable.

“The President can only held responsible through impeachment,” Poe said.

[NB: Tagalog portion translated: “Aquino said so himself some time back as President and Commander-in-Chief, ‘I take responsibility for any results, any success, harm, or tragedy that could result from seeking the long-term security and peace of the nation’, Poe said.”]

Champion of long-overdue justice for the victims of the Mamasapano Massacre: Attorney Ferdinand Topacio

Champion of long-overdue justice for the victims of the Mamasapano Massacre:
Attorney Ferdinand Topacio

A PNP Board of Inquiry (BOI) organised to investigate the incident (which it refers to as “Oplan Exodus”) also came up with findings that pointed to Aquino as the key accountable person for the tragedy. The BOI, in its report noted, interestingly enough, how key figures in the chain of command involved in the mission, notably Aquino, suspended Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Alan Purisima, and Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff Gregorio Catapang did not cooperate in the investigation. The report also stated that “All concerned officers of the AFP refused to be interviewed by the BOI despite repeated requests.” The report also highlighted that the AFP and Purisima refused to subject cellular phones used during the operation for making calls and sending and receiving text messages to forensic examination by the BOI.

The report clearly states that Oplan Exodus was

(1) Approved by President BS Aquino;

(2) Implemented by then suspended PNP chief Alan Purisima and SAF Director Getulio Napenas; and,

(3) Excluded PNP Officer-in-Charge Leonardo Espina.

Evidence showed that then President BS Aquino knew full well that the suspended Purisima was participating in the operation. The report, however, noted that back on the 16th December 2014, Espina had issued Special Order No. 9851 directing Purisima to “cease and desist” from involving themselves in any PNP operations. This clearly proves that Purisima had no business being involved in Oplan Exodus — something that, according to the report, Napenas also ignored. Napenas and Purisima were also both identified as being responsible for failing to (a) inform then Department of Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas about Oplan Exodus and (b) implement prior coordination with the AFP.

Despite all these findings, no one or no group has suffered any consequences from what, essentially, could be considered a sustained effort to kill officers of the Philippine police over the time period within which the massacre transpired. However, Senator Leila De Lima who served as Justice Secretary under Aquino, was quick to defend her former boss against the charges, calling them “a simple media stunt” and condemning the victims’ families for “letting themselves be used by political actors who continue to pillorize President Aquino”.

“No amount of legal imagination can manipulate the definition of homicide and murder under the Revised Penal Code so as to implicate the police officials involved and President Aquino himself,” said De Lima in a statement sent to the Inquirer.

Topacio firmly stands by his clients’ case and has issued a response fully debunking De Lima’s statement on Twitter

As usual, De Lima is wrong as she again shows her lack of legal imagination.

With all due respect to the tail-end Senator, Mr Aquino and the other respondents are not being charged with Murder or Homicide, but for RECKLESS IMPRUDENCE RESULTING TO MULTIPLE HOMICIDE. As a former Justice Secretary and supposedly and expert in criminal law, De Lima should know better: there is a world of difference homicide and murder on the one hand, which are crimes committed with deliberate intent; and crimes committed through negligence, such as reckless imprudence. In other words, Aquino et al. are NOT being charged with the crime of HOMICIDE, but for his RECKLESS IMPRUDENCE which resulted in the killing of the SAF44. RECKLESS IMPRUDENCE, as every law school freshman knows, is a CRIME BY ITSELF, committed through NEGLIGENCE, as a result of imprudence, lack of foresight or lack of skill. Having committed a crime of RECKLESS IMPRUDENCE, Aquino et al. should he held liable for all the consequences thereof even though not intended, including the deaths of 44 police officers. This is clear under Article 4 of the Revised Penal Code.

The charge of RECKLESS IMPRUDENCE is supported by a huge amount of documentary evidence consisting of the Senate Report, the PNP Board of Inquiry Report, and the transcripts of testimonies before the Senate taken UNDER OATH, all of which are attached to our Complaint. They are more than enough to constitute probable cause after preliminary investigation. The Supreme Court defines probable cause as such evidence showing that, more likely than not, a crime has been committed and those charged are probable guilty thereof.

Lacking in legal imagination: Former Justice Secretary Leila De Lima

Lacking in legal imagination:
Former Justice Secretary Leila De Lima

The PNP BOI Report supports Topacio’s assertion of reckless imprudence as the cornerstone of his case against Aquino. There was a lot about the planning surrounding Oplan Exodus that could have been done better and a lot of unsound assumptions made. The report described the on-the-ground circumstances (unfavourable terrain, etc.) that exacerbated the execution of the shaky plan. Key among the operational snafus cited was an “ineffective communication system.”

One of the key conclusions in the BOI report was the existence of a violation of the PNP chain of command which is a fundamental doctrine of the PNP that stipulates that such “runs upward and downward”. This contradicts an early assertion made by Senator De Lima (as Justice Secretary at the time) that the chain-of-command concept does not apply to the PNP.

Ultimately, it was the involvement of Purisima that constituted one of the more serious violations of policy and procedure — something that President BS Aquino was clearly responsible for. Purisima was also cited as having provided “inaccurate information” to the president as Oplan Exodus played out on the ground. Napenas was tagged as being culpable for continuing to follow orders from Purisima despite knowing full well that he was under suspension by order of the Ombudsman. Command responsibility — also a doctrine that applies fully to the PNP — is at play making the three key officers on top of Oplan Exodus, President BS Aquino, Purisima, and Napenas, ultimately accountable for its tragic outcome.

28 Replies to “Prison awaits Aquino: Justice in the horizon for SAF 44 victims of Mamasapano Massacre!”

  1. I’m not party to the entire massacre situation but I hope Aquino and those responsible are found liable for their actions, in-actions etc. and are held accountable. There is something that bothers me in a country in which government business is conducted in English and that is the fact that if a case is brought using improper English, any competent attorney should be able to get an unsatisfactory verdict reversed simply on the faulty language which results in the wrong case being filed and prosecuted.

    If the case filed actually contains the following language it is flawed from the outset and should be dismissed. “RECKLESS IMPRUDENCE RESULTING TO MULTIPLE HOMICIDE.”

    The word “TO” is absolutely the wrong word in the sentence and makes no sense whatsoever. It should be replaced with the word “IN.” Who on earth has taught Filipinos that “TO” belongs in this context? this improper use occurs almost everywhere and in almost every source in this country. Another example is on numerous signs in Malaybalay City that say, “Get high with God, not TO drugs.” Holy happy crappy, what crap!

  2. There is not a single politician in the Failippines that is going to jail any time soon. That includes Aquino.

    P10,000 says that the guy will NEVER even face charges in a court of law on this.The case will take so long to get to court Aquino will be 85 years old before the first witness takes the stand.

    BTW, how is that trial of the Amputuans going? When did that happen again? November of 2008?

    its the same old song and dance kiddies….you all should know it well by now. No one is going to jail, no one is giving any ill-gotten wealth back and maybe this Aquino POS will lose a little face, BUT that doesn’t matter to Failippino politicians. Losing FACE only matters to the idiotic massa.

    1. Gloria is still in jail even though she has never been charged. I suspect that if DU30 has BS NigNog jailed it will be accompanied by charges and I expect the Maguindanao cases to proceed soon now that he has taken office.

      1. GMA and Ramon “Bong” Revilla (Pork Barrel Scandal) are only in jail when the media is doing a segment (with a heads up announcement they’re going to be interview) on them. The rest of the time these “assholes”–and other high-profile criminals–are at home and doing their own thing.

      2. [Edited Version]

        GMA and Ramon “Bong” Revilla (Pork Barrel Scandal) are only in jail when the media is doing a segment (with a heads up announcement they’re going to be interviewed) on them. The rest of the time these “assholes”–and other high-profile criminals–are at home and doing their own thing.

      3. @ Jerry, GMA has never spent one second in a JAIL, a hospital room is not a jail cell….and if you go to that hospital I will bet another P10,000 she is not in that room either. GET A CLUE JERRY, they are FREE!

        GMA, Estrada,Aquino,Marcos…they are all thieves.Every single one of them.

  3. BWAH HA-HA…Coming to an International Airport in a Wheelchair soon…….NOT !!!!!

    This guy Topacio, isn’t he the guy that is heading the families of the victims in the ‘Mindanao Massacre’ case ? How’s that one going? All the witnesses dead yet ?

    After asking 3 OFW’s if Aquino, BSA III, will ever go to jail…for anything….they all said : NO WAY, they all said, DREAM ON !!!!

  4. Filipino politicians have teflon jackets, this will slide right off of Aquino.What are they going to do, try to throw him in jail for 44 counts of Manslaughter ? These guys were doing their job, with inferior equipment, in shitty terrain, without Land Rover’s….and they died,were given a Military or Police Funeral and thats it !!!! this is not going to go anywhere. You have all seen this before. Dacer Corbito.Sotto and Pepsi.Blah and Blah Estrada and whatever, Same thing,every time……headlines,public shaming…leading to a Fiddler’s Fart.Get your hope’s up, go ahead…and get let down…just like every other time something like this happens.

    You’d think people would catch on by now.

    1. You’d think people would catch on by now.

      Well…that’s one way of looking at it. But it’s a test of whether the Duterte presidency can actually do things. Besides, it’s better than simply sitting back and doing nothing just because tradition dictates it won’t happen.

      1. LOL, GOOD LUCK WITH THAT. Duterte is showing what he is capable of, attacking/killing street level criminals is all he will go after because everyone hates them and they can not fight back. The politico’s all need to be introduced to the guillotine. That will show them that they best stop thieving.

        1. Duterte is showing what he is capable of, attacking/killing street level criminals is all he will go after…

          Just saw the news naming five generals. Those are hardly “street level” vermins. Give the new administration a chance. It’s too early to be prophetic about things. Besides, the guy is practically doing things this early that his predecessor took forever to accomplish that ultimately resulted to NOTHING.

    2. i like to think some of the negative thinkers here choose to be that way but they really wish to be wrong on their assumptions/ generalizations.. Otherwise, i do not need any of your thoughts about my country and i hope you have the resources to leave cause you dont deserve to be part of the good that can happen.. Sorry me for feeding a troll

      1. and big FUCK YOU to you too. You flips come to my country and share your unwanted opinions too.GROW UP and realize people are entitled to their opinions, whether you like them or not.

        1. note to self? nice.. dont get too cray-cray replying on everyone.. your processor needs an upgrade

      2. Just exactly who is jong talking to? This is the ONLY country I’ve ever been to in my 64 years where people get so butt hurt if someone criticizes the country.

        Here’s a suggestion for any Filipino who doesn’t want others to criticize country. FIX IT and there won’t be so much criticism. When you say, “i hope you have the resources to leave cause you dont deserve to be part of the good that can happen” you are part of the problem and no part of the solution. Normally I would not correct grammar or spelling in this kind of forum, but because you can’t accept criticism maybe you can learn something. The pronoun “I” is always capitalized and “dont” needs an apostrophe and is spelled “don’t.” The word you should have used in place of “cause” would be “because.” I teach ESL and get paid for doing so but now that I’ve given you a lesson for free, you should take advantage of something given you by a foreigner.

        The only things Filipinos ever give me is a hard time, but they sure are ready to take my money. They tell me to, “go back to your country if you don’t like (things being all fucked up) it here.” Of course nobody offers to support the 10 or so people I support on my American money!

        Let me add that if you go to America nobody will ever tell you to leave if you bitch about things not being correct (unless you are there illegally). What they WILL do, is try to solve the problem.

        1. So my English is wrong, but your comment is too long. Lol

          I respect every criticism here. I am just amazed at people who choose to be negative even if the president is barely a week in the office. And a little disappointed. Maybe it’s some way people are. But really, less hope in life makes you a hater. That is why i like to justify their negativity as maybe their way of doing reverse jinxes. But on their own, they still want the country to prosper. If not, then what are they doing here?

          And my concern is the Philippines, while your concern is my English, on a political blog. And you really want to let me know you have 10 or so people to support with your money. Are you the savior of the Philippines now? I am not surprised people telling you to go back to your country.

          Sorry if i started my sentences with “But”. I just cant help thinking about my butt while responding to you.

          Btw, lol means “Ulol”

  5. In my country this would and is really impossible to send the prime minister to jail over such an event.
    At best, one can do is file a suit against the government and then the government will pay a settlement but only when it is determined that someone up the ranks made a mistake that could have been prevented. The first to sue is absolutely the general who sent those 44 guys in the field without the proper and accurate information (intel).

    Personally, I have problems with the name that is been used “44 elite police officers of the Philippine National Police (PNP) Special Action Force (SAF)”.

    Elite and special.

  6. Command Responsibility is a very important, in a leader. The SAF Police massacre was a tragic incident , where Police SAF, were abandoned to be slaughtered by the Muslim insurgents. A crooked Police, in suspension, was allowed by Aquino, to be in charge of the operation.

    It all points out to Aquino and Purisima misbehavior. With Mar Roxas, also, who pretended not to know the operation. It is within your jurisdiction; and you don’t know what is happening? Mar Roxas is either a liar, or just a decoration in his position as head of the Local government…

    De Lima and her driver lover, do not know what they are talking about…maybe, they took too much Viagra…

    Civil and criminal cases must be filed by concerned Filipino citizens. This is misbehavior of Aquino and his cahoots, to the the worse extent. Jail these people !

  7. The disastrous Mamasapano police ops is considered a sovereign action – hence it is covered by immunity from suit no matter how flawed it may seem. The same can be said when a Prez orders a military assault on a known terrorist lairs where a number of soldiers get killed in a defective military game plan. I think DAP is a better option.

  8. Ang militar pumunta sa kuta ng MILF para umaresto ng tao. That place naturally has all the MILF rebels in nearby proximity. When they start shooting at you do you wonder why they are doing so? naturally they’re going to kill you. It’s part of your job. ..

    Kung ayaw mo mamatay wag ka pumunta doon. wag ka magsundalo.

    pero kung may hiningan ng tulong tapos di nagpadala ng troops para sumaklolo. ibang usapan na yon. kaya kasi di matapos ang labanan dyan dahil mapuputol ang pera na napupunta para sa mga bala at military equipment dyan. ayaw nila ng peace kundi wala silang makukurakot.

  9. Jong, just look at this comment of yours and see why Filipinos are not permitted to teach English in most of the countries where teaching ESL is big business. I guess this will be my second free lesson of the day.

    “note to self? nice.. dont get too cray-cray replying on everyone.. your processor needs an upgrade.”

    When you leave out words and type .. to indicate there are missing words, you are supposed to use 3 periods and it has its own name as a piece of pronunciation. That is called an ellipsis and in the middle of a sentence it always is written … and the only time it ever has more than 3 periods is at the end of a sentence. It is optional to end a sentence/thought with 4 periods because you are using the ellipsis and then the final period…. Like I said, that is optional, not mandatory in the English language unless a teacher has a particular idea on that matter and instructs you to use … or ….

    Also, you don’t reply “on” someone, you reply “to” someone and you should have ended your sentence with a period.

    1. Wait! There is another problem, you can’t see the reply button. You are so lucky i found your comment.

      Now it just occurred to me, why the 20% discount doesn’t apply on the internet?

  10. The Army actually sat on their thumbs for 10-11 hours in that particular timeframe. Either they’ve been deliberately told not to move their asses, or they’ve been completely kept in the dark – but heck, any sound of gunfire in those rural areas would be carried away far and wide and should have alerted the nearby Army units in Mamasapano that something was up – yet they didn’t bother to investigate for themselves. Which reinforces my theory that Noynoy the Turd himself basically hamstrung them on not taking any action at all since he is still “liaising” with the MILF through the OPAPP and his “peace advisers” Deles and Ferrer. If anyone is to be made accountable about that debacle it should be those two bungholes Deles and Ferrer since they were the ones who gave away precious time and delayed any actionable move by the Army while they were “liaising” with the MILF. This is what you call fighting an enemy with not just one hand tied, but both – in the parlance of those US brass back then in the Vietnam War – as that characterized on how they dealt with their opponents as dictated to them by Lyndon Johnson and his cohorts of civilian advisers. Letting an unqualified and clueless man to manage a risky operation will end up with that – disaster and death.

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