Prosecutors from the Office of Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales may have a difficult time proving the graft and usurpation of authority charges that will be filed against former President Benigno Aquino III, Antipolo Rep. Romeo Acop said Sunday (July 16).
In a radio interview, Acop noted that Aquino exercised a wide latitude of authority over the police since he was the commander in chief.
“Let’s look at the usurpation aspect. The President is the head of all the agencies of government and also the commander-in-chief of the armed forces in so as as the Constitution is concerned. So ang sa aking palagay, yong usurpation of authority is medyo mahihirapan tayong kwan don siguro, ilusot,” he explained.
“Siguro..maski siguro yong graft… hindi naman natin nakita pa, hindi ko pa nabasa yong mga specific data nong graft eh,” Acop, the chair of the House committee on public order and safety, added.
Morales has ordered the filing of criminal charges against Aquino in connection with the botched “Oplan Exodus” in January 2015 that led to the deaths of 44 Special Action Force troopers in Mamasapano, Mindanao.
According to the Ombudsman, Aquino should be held criminally liable for the tragedy for allowing then-suspended Philippine National Police chied Alan Purisima to take part in the planning and running of the operation.
While Acop believes the cases which the Ombudsman plans to file are difficult to prove, he believes Aquino should be charged for allowing Purisima to plan and control how the police mission was carried out.
“Yun ang kasalanan ni President Aquino. Dahil alam din niya na suspended si General Purisima and yet he was dealing with General Purisima as a friend and as chief of the Philippine National Police,” he said.