Aquino moves for dismissal of complaints

Former President Benigno Simeon Aquino lll.

MANILA — Former President Benigno Aquino III has formally denied having direct participation in the botched Philippine National Police Special Action Force (SAF) operation in Mamasapano, Maguindanao province, that led to the deaths of 44 police commandos on Jan. 25, 2015.

Aquino asked the Office of the Ombudsman to dismiss the three complaints filed by the relatives of the slain SAF commandos against him, saying he could not be directly faulted for the deaths of the policemen because of his limited involvement in the operation.

In his 27-page counter-affidavit, Aquino argued the case did not fall under the doctrine of command responsibility, as he had “reasonable basis” to presume the operation was being carried out with regularity.

He said he was not directly involved in the planning and execution of “Oplan: Exodus,” as these duties fell under the “sole discretion” of the ground commanders.

Aquino said he only received updates from the police officials, and was not even informed of the date during a Jan. 9, 2015, briefing.

“It was only on the morning of Jan. 25, 2015, that I learned that Oplan: Exodus had been implemented,” he said.
Aquino argued that his participation was “not the proximate cause” of the SAF troopers’ deaths.

He said the operation failed because of “poor planning, defective execution and lack of coordination” with the military.