SC lifts TRO on Mamasapano trial vs. ex-Pres. Aquino
The Supreme Court (SC) has lifted the temporary restraining order (TRO) on the graft and usurpation charges filed two years ago before the Sandiganbayan against former President Benigno Aquino III, former Philippine National Police chief Alan Purisima and former PNP-SAF director Getulio Napeñas, Jr.
“For those asking and upon verification with the Chief Justice, I would like to confirm that the Supreme Court has lifted the TRO on the Mamasapano trial before the Sandiganbayan,” SC spokesman Brian Keith Hosaka told reporters in a message Wednesday.
The lifted TRO had frozen proceedings in charges in connection with the ill-planned Jan. 25, 2015 Mamasapano incident which resulted in the death of 60 individuals, including 44 members of the Special Action Force (SAF)’s 55th Special Action Company and the 84th Special Action Company/Seaborne, in an operation to serve warrants on terrorists Zulkifli Bin Hir, alias “Marwan”, and Abdul Basit Usman.
The TRO had prevented the Sandiganbayan’s Fourth Division from ruling on a motion filed by Ombudsman Samuel Martires to withdraw the charges of graft and usurpation of public office filed by former Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales against Aquino.
The said charges filed by Morales had been denounced as “weak” by a group representing the victims and has called for charges of reckless imprudence resulting into multiple homicide, instead.
Lawyer Ferdinand Topacio, who had asked the anti-graft court to initiate the homicide charges instead of the “lighter” charges, said his office is yet to receive a copy of the SC ruling.
Aquino and all of the accused had not yet been arraigned on the “lighter” charges initiated by Morales and thus no double jeopardy would set in the meantime.
In February 2018, the SC’s First Division issued the TRO against the Ombudsman and the Sandiganbayan from proceeding with the trial of the charges filed with the Sandiganbayan in November 2017, during the term of Morales. (PNA)