Conchita Carpio Morales, Ombudsman of the Philippines, ordered that criminal charges be filed against former President Benigno Aquino for the botched 2015 Mamasapano operation, that left 44 special armed forces commandos dead.
Morales faults Aquino for allowing the then-Philippine National Police Chief Alan Purisima to a play a major role in the operation, despite the fact that he was suspended.
If found guilty, Aquino may face up to 10 years in prison with possible disqualification from holding any future public office.
Fil-Am activists who have been very critical of Aquino during his presidency say they welcome the charges, and say the Mamasapano incident is just one of his many crimes.
“It was the Aquino administration’s gross neglect before the storm hit and afterwards with the aid that was never given,” said Adrian Bonifacio from Anakbayan East Bay. “And not to mention the pork barrel which is just gross misuse of public funds.”
While charges have been filed against Aquino, these activists say they they don’t have much faith in the Philippine government when it comes to justice — especially in past cases when former leaders were cleared of other charges.
“We know the Philippine government in terms of a judicial system is flawed, and that’s something we are also seeking to change,” said Bonifacio.
“We will definitely raise our voices and support legal cases against President Aquino within our organizations in the streets. And also hold this government, not just aquino, but this government accountable to his promises,” said Aurora Victoria David from NAFCON.
President Duterte defended Aquino earlier this week, calling it a “silly decision” to charge the former President for consulting with Purisima regarding the operation.
According to Aquino’s former deputy spokesperson, he will appeal the indictment.