Ombudsman vows to address complaint vs. ex-President Aquino’s alleged role in Mamasapano incident

Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales on Friday said the Office of the Ombudsman will address the complaint against former President Benigno "Noynoy" S. Aquino III in connection with his alleged participation in the Mamasapano incident.

The incident claimed the lives of 44 troopers of the Philippine National Police-Special Action Force (PNP-SAF) on Jan. 15, 2015 in Mamasapano, Maguindanao, who were involved in the operation to serve the arrest warrant against international terrorist Zulkifli bin Ahir alias "Marwan".

Marwan was killed during the operation.

In an ambush interview with reporters on Friday, Morales said the complaint against the former President is still being investigated to see if there are grounds for a preliminary investigation.

She said that her office will address the complaint against the former President over his role in the Mamasapano clash before she steps down in 2018.

The Ombudsman chief is set to retire in June 2018.

"Maybe this year, maybe next year. Matagal pa 'yun, and one and a half years pa (ako sa puwesto). Huwag mo sabihin it will take me one and a half years to conduct an investigation, hindi naman siguro (Maybe this year, maybe next year. It will take some time, and I still have one and a half years. Don't tell me it will take one and a half years to conduct an investigation. It won't take that long)," Morales said.

She said the case is still being investigated to see if there are grounds for a preliminary investigation.

In July 2015, the Ombudsman's special investigating panel recommended the filing of administrative and criminal charges against 11 police officers, led by former Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Alan Purisima, in connection with the Mamasapano encounter.

However, the Ombudsman exonerated Aquino of criminal liability.

It can be noted that a sitting President enjoys "immunity from suit" during his incumbency in office.

The fact-finding team concluded its investigation then as there was not enough evidence to hold the former President accountable for the aborted operation.

Since Aquino stepped down on June 30, 2016, three complaints have been filed against him in connection with the Mamasapano incident.

Source: Philippines News Agency