The time for former president Aquino to pay his dues has come, says Presidential Chief Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo.
Regardless of how powerful or wealthy the Aquinos may be, Panelo said these cannot save Benigno Aquino III in the graft cases against him by the Office of the Ombudsman regarding his alleged involvement in Oplan Exodus, an anti-terrorist operation that led to the murder of 44 police officers in Maguindanao in 2015, stated Panelo.
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Panel expressed his agitation towards the issue revolving around former president Benigno Aquino III as he issued further statements.
"Sooner or later the law will catch up on those who use power or wealth to shield themselves from te majesty of the law," Panelo said in a statement.
"Dura Lex Sed Lex, no power nor wealth can escape from it, it can only delay its coming, but when it does, it operates ex propio vigore (with full force and effect)," Panelo added.
It can be remembered that just recently, former president Benigno Aquino III was charged by the Ombudsman with usurpation of authority for his involvement in the Mamasapano massacre as stated under Article 177 of the Revised Penal Code and Violation of Section 3(a) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.
Along with Aquino, former Philippine National Police chief Alan Purisima and former Special Action Force Director Getulio Napenas were also filed with graft cases by the Office of the Ombudsman.
It can be remembered that almost 400 SAF troopers had been sent to Mamasapano in Maguindanao on the midnight of January 24, 2015 in pursuit of then wanted terrorist Zulkifli Bin Hir alias Marwan.
The said operation, also known as Oplan Exodus, was able to neutralize Marwan but also resulted in a deadly encounter against members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters.
Forty-four of the elite PNP's SAF members out of those 400 sent had been killed in the operation as they were moving out of the area.
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The charges came from the consolidated complaints filed by family members and relatives of the 44 slain families as well as the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption in 2016 after Aquino ended his presidential term.
The said complaints has alleged former president Aquino to have committed gross and inexcusable negligence of the said operation when he pushed through when he was very much aware that the operation is flawed. Furthermore, former president Aquino also breached the chain of command when he gave then PNP chief director Purisima permission to participate in the planning of the Oplan Exodus attack.
In addition to these graft cases is a an amount of P155.7 million of unliquidated expenses of the Aquino administration that the COA has reviewed. COA still awaits the Office of the President of the Aquino administration to file a liquidation report of the P155.7 million expenditure.
The said amount includes an amount of P17 million of suspicious fund transfers to agencies that had been abolished the very first year of the Aquino administration. The expenses, as well as assets and liabilities of these abolished agencies remains unliquidated up to this day.