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An anticrime watchdog that filed a criminal complaint against former President Benigno Aquino III over the botched Mamasapano operation slammed Senator Leila de Lima on Sunday for supposedly showing bias after she described the charge as a “media stunt.”
Volunteers against Crime and Corruption (VACC) chair Dante Jimenez challenged the senator to step down to become a defense lawyer for Aquino.
“[VACC] reminds de Lima that she is no longer a secretary of justice but a senator of the land. De Lima can resign as a senator and we will welcome her to be a defense lawyer of Aquino. We understand that she will head the Committee on Justice of the Senate so she has exposed herself already to be a biased lawmaker,” Jimenez said in a statement.
VACC is asking the Office of the Ombudsman to indict Aquino for reckless imprudence resulting in homicide for his alleged role in the “Oplan Exodus” operation, where 44 members of the police Special Action Force (SAF) were killed.
A similar complaint was filed against dismissed police chief Alan Purisima and sacked SAF director and defeated senatorial candidate Getulio Napenas.
The group filed the complaint a day after Aquino stepped down from his post.
“Aquino’s criminal negligence consisted of planning Oplan Exodus with gross and inexcusable negligence and thereafter approved the operation knowing it was flawed,” the complaint read.
But De Lima branded the charge as “absurd,” saying that it would not even pass the preliminary investigation.
“No amount of legal imagination can manipulate the definition of homicide and murder under the Revised Penal Code so as to implicate the police officials involved and President Aquino himself,” she said.
Aquino himself slammed the “instigators” of the case.
“The loss of the SAF 44 is a tragedy. I reiterate that if my instruction to then SAF Director General Getulio Napenas were followed to the letter, perhaps the risks of the operation could have been minimized and that this tragedy could have been averted,” he said.