By Ma Reina Tolentino/Manila Times
Former president Benigno Aquino did not show up in Friday’s scheduled arraignment for his graft and usurpation of authority cases in connection with the botched Mamasapano raid in January 2015.
The Sandiganbayan’s Fourth Division deferred to February 15 his arraignment as well as the pretrial of the cases against former Philippine National Police (PNP) director general Alan Purisima.
Aquino’s lawyer Romeo Fernandez said he thought the Sandiganbayan would tackle only the motion to quash the charges filed by the former president.
Aquino’s presence was not required in the hearing on the motion to quash, he said.
Fernandez also said he was unaware that the arraignment was also scheduled on Friday.
The 39-page motion to quash said the Ombudsman’s charge sheet failed to state a violation of the Revised Penal Code and the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, and was filed “without authority.”
“As exhaustively discussed, when Oplan Exodus was devised and implemented, sole executive power was vested in Aquino under Article VII of the 1987 Constitution. He likewise had the duty to ensure that all laws are faithfully executed, and accordingly, ensure the arrest of the internationally wanted Marwan and Basit Usman.
He had not been removed from office by way of impeachment, which, under the Constitution, is the only way by which his powers of control and supervision over the Executive Department, the Armed Forces of the Philippines(AFP), and the PNP could be taken away from him,” the defence said in the motion.
“All of these acts fell squarely within Aquino’s powers, functions, and prerogatives as then president of the Philippines, and therefore, cannot be deemed as criminal acts. The (charges), therefore, must be quashed for accusing Aquino of acts which are actually justified and legal under the circumstances,” the defence said.
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