MANILA - The Supreme Court (SC) on Tuesday upheld the Ombudsman's ruling dismissing complaints of reckless imprudence resulting in multiple homicide against former President Benigno Aquino III and two others over the death of 44 Special Action Force (SAF) personnel in Mamasapano, Maguindanao in 2015.
In a press conference, SC spokesman Brian Hosaka said the high court unanimously dismissed the petition for certiorari filed by Felicitas Nacio, Helen Ramacula and the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC).
"The Court held that the Ombudsman did not commit grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack of excess of jurisdiction in dismissing the complaints for 44 counts of reckless imprudence resulting in multiple homicide filed against private respondents," the court said.
Charged with Aquino are former Philippine National Police chief Alan Purisima and former SAF head Getulio Napeñas.
The SC affirmed the Ombudsman's consolidated resolution dated June 13, 2017 and consolidated order dated September 5, 2017 finding no probably cause to charge the three with reckless imprudence resulting in multiple homicide.
Aquino, Purisima and Napeñas are facing graft and usurpation charges in connection with the January 25, 2015 police operation in Mamasapano, Maguindanao that ended in the deaths of more than 60 people, including 44 members of the Special Action Force (SAF).
The VACC and the Office of Solicitor General urged the Ombudsman to charge the former president with multiple homicide instead of graft and usurpation of power.
Homicide carries a maximum penalty of 20 years imprisonment. On the other hand, the maximum jail time for graft is 15 years and up to 4 years and 2 months for usurpation.
Aquino has always insisted that the botched anti-terror mission was not his fault, blaming instead Napeñas who allegedly disobeyed orders to coordinate with the Army.