KAKAMPI MO ANG BATAS: PNoy’s liabilities for the murder of SAF 44 PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 21 March 2015 11:22

BY Atty. BATAS MAURICIO

 

LIFE’S INSPIRATIONS: “…It is not good to be partial to the wicked and so deprive the innocent of justice…” (Proverbs 18:5, the Holy Bible).

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MUCH ADO ABOUT PNP’S COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF: If the truth be told, the brouhaha over President Aquino being or not being the commander-in-chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP) is a mere squid tactic, aimed at diverting the attention of all Filipinos about Aquino’s ultimate liability over the merciless killing of 44 officers and men of the Special Action Force (SAF) in Mamasapano, Maguindanao on January 25, 2015.

So what if Aquino was the commander-in-chief of the PNP? So what if he was not? The real issue, whether he was the commander-in-chief or not, is: could Aquino be held liable for the brutal and barbaric death of the SAF commandoes, courtesy of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and by the Bangsamoro Islamic Federation Fighters (BIFF)?

The answer is clear to many Filipinos now: yes, Aquino is liable for the Mamasapano killings for the crimes of murder and, at the very least, for graft and corruption under Section 3 (e) of Republic Act 3019, of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, which penalizes any government official who, in the discharge of his duties, causes undue injury or loss to others.

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PNOY ACTED AS GOV’T OFFICIAL IN THE MAMASAPANO INCIDENT: In the Mamasapano murders, it is clear that Aquino acted as a government official—the President of the country—when he authorized the operation to arrest or kill Malaysian terrorist Zulkifli bin Hir, or Marwan, whoever he was directly or indirectly talking to—either to then suspended PNP Chief Gen. Alan Purisima, or to then SAF chief Gen. Getulio Napenas.

As a government official, Aquino was supposed to exercise good faith, impartiality, and careful conduct in pursuing the Marwan operation, to avoid causing undue injury or loss to anyone.

Yet, he chose to be reckless, partial, and imprudent (or, perhaps, even impudent), despite the danger and sensitivity of the entire Marwan caper, by allowing a suspended Purisima to take the lead in the operation. And we are not even talking here of supposed orders, now widely attributed to Aquino, that were said to have caused government troops to “stand down” or, not to help the SAF 44 while they were being killed in cold blood by the MILF and the BIFF.

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PNOY COULD BE LIABLE FOR THE MURDER OF SAF 44: On top of all these, however, is the fact that Aquino could also be held liable for the murders of the SAF troopers, maybe not by direct participation, nor by inducement, but certainly by indispensable cooperation, or by the fact that his inaction or perhaps outright  refusal to act during the crucial moments when the SAF commandoes needed help the most enabled the MILF and the BIFF to kill them at will.

As the Supreme Court has ruled time and again in countless cases, while there maybe no evidence of any prior agreement about the commission of a crime like murder, the contemporaneous acts of various persons could indicate unity of purpose which would make each of them equally liable for the acts of the others who personally carried out the crimes in question.

One such case is the case of People vs. Santiago, G.R. No. 129371, October 04, 2000, where the tribunal aptly said: “(Conspiracy) may be deduced from the manner in which the offense is committed, as when the accused acted in concert to achieve the same objective…” Surely, it would be clear that there was concerted action—from the President, and from the MILF and the BIFF—in the Mamasapano incident that enabled the SAF commandoes to be murdered.

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