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By JOSEPH G. LARIOSA
(© 2015 Journal GlobaLinks)
CHICAGO (JGL) – It was an ominous confession nobody took seriously.
Four months after the Mamasapano Massacre, former President Noynoy Aquino III, made a public confession delivered in a light-hearted manner -- an unsolicited advice to his successor who would jail him: It should be at the “Fort.”
The problem was Mr. Aquino was very generic, not specific, with his wish as to the location of his jailhouse preference.
“Fort Santiago,” where Jose Rizal and Noynoy's great grandfather, who was a Katipunero (Katipunan Independence fighter), and his grandfather were all jailed, is now a Manila Park at Port Area. While “Fort Bonifacio” where his martyred father, Sen. Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr., was jailed by Marcos for seven years and seven months, is no longer a sprawling military camp that I used to cover as a Manila Bulletin police reporter when it was housing the Southern Police Headquarters as part of Makati City. It is now a bustling commercial center known as GBC (Global Bonifacio City) that is being claimed by neighboring Taguig City instead of the adjoining Pateros town.
With his indictment by his very own appointed graft buster, Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales on Friday (July 14) in connection with the botched Mamasapano raid that left 44 Special Action Force (SAF) commandos dead, Aquino’s self-fulfilling prophesy could now be a fait accompli.
Morales said Aquino violated a provision of the anti-graft law prohibiting any public officer from inducing or influencing another to perform an act that violated duly promulgated rules and regulations when he allowed suspended Philippine National Police Chief Alan Purisima to take part in an official police operation.
Aquino was also charged with as “co-conspirator” along with Purisima and sacked SAF commander Getulio Napenas. Both Purisima and Napenas were also charged with violation of the same anti-graft provision brought against Aquino.
10 YEARS, 4 YEARS IMPRISONMENTS
The graft charge carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison while usurpation, four years.
“There is no gainsaying that President Aquino was fully aware that the Office of the Ombudsman had placed Purisima under preventive suspension at that time,” Morales said, referring to her order to suspend the former PNP chief over an anomalous gun license delivery deal.
She said text messages between Aquino and Purisima, which were disclosed during a Senate investigation, showed that the “suspended police chief played a major role in the botched operation.”
She said Purisima usurped authority by playing an active role “to the point that he was exercising a degree of authority and discretion over Napeñas and consequently, over the operation” in Mamasapano.
Morales said Aquino was complicit in Purisima’s usurpation when the former President “assented to or at the very least failed to prevent Purisima” from getting involved in the operation.
Aquino’s spokesperson Abigail Valte said he and his lawyers were studying the Ombudsman’s order “with the end view of filing a motion for reconsideration.”
“An initial reading shows that there may have been a misappreciation of some facts surrounding the incident, leading to some erroneous conclusions,” Ms. Valte, a lawyer by profession, also said.
During his May 6, 2015 visit to Chicago, Illinois, Mr. Aquino broke the ice before delivering his speech before a huge Filipino American crowd with an ad-lib on a self-deprecating information related to him by outgoing Philippine Consul General Generoso D.G. Calonge – that in May 1888, Jose Rizal visited Chicago on his way to Europe.
“Napagisip lang ako Mayo rin daw dumalaw dito [si Jose Rizal] pareho kami. So si Rizal natapos sa Luneta e. [Tawanan]” (I just thought that Rizal and myself came to Chicago on the same month of May. And Rizal ended up by firing squad in Luneta.), [Laughter]” Mr. Aquino added.
“Hindi ho kasi sa angkan ho namin ‘yung lolo ko ho sa tuhod, Katipunero. Nakulong po siya sa Fort Santiago. Lolo ko naman po, hindi ba nakulong din? Hindi ba naiwan ni Quezon doon, ikinulong naman sa Fort Santiago din ho pala. [My great grandfather was a Katipunan revolutionary. He was jailed at Fort Santiago. My grandfather was also jailed, isn't it? He was then abandoned there by [Pres.] Quezon. He was also jailed at Fort Santiago by the way.]
“Ang tatay ko naman ho ‘yung pangatlo sa — bawat henerasyon meron kaming nakukulong e. [Tawanan] Tatay ko ho Fort Bonifacio. Pitong taon at pitong buwan ho inabot naman ‘nung sa kanya. [My father [the late Sen. Benigno Aquino, Jr.] was the third -- in each of our generation, someone goes to jail. [Laughter] My father was jailed in Fort Bonifacio. Seven years and seven months were his jail term.]