By Czarina Ong
Ombudsman Samuel Martires has filed a motion before the Sandiganbayan Fourth Division seeking to withdraw the graft and usurpation charges filed against former President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III in connection with the botched Mamasapano operations.
“After a review… the undersigned finds no sufficient ground and evidence to charge accused Benigno Simeon C. Aquino III for violation of Section 3(a) of Republic Act No. 3019 and for usurpation of official functions under Article 177 of the Revised Penal Code, being then the President of the Republic of the Philippines during the time material to the cases,” the motion stated.
Martires, who signed the motion himself on June 24, said in his prayer that he hopes the charges against Aquino be considered dismissed “without prejudice to the filing of appropriate charges against accused after the conduct of preliminary investigation.”
This is the latest development in the case against Aquino, which had been put on hold after the Supreme Court issued a temporary restraining order.
Aquino, who is facing the charges alongside former Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Alan Purisima and former PNP- Special Action Force (PNP-SAF) director Getulio Napeñas Jr., was indicted due to his alleged involvement in the botched Oplan Exodus that resulted in the deaths of 44 SAF troopers in Mamasapano, Maguindanao.
Aquino and Napeñas have not yet been arraigned. Only Purisima has pleaded not guilty because of his travel motion.
The anti-graft court has scheduled a hearing on the motion on July 12 at 1:30 in the afternoon.