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Ombudsman affirms charges against Purisima, Napeñas

Photo via the Office of the Ombudsman
MANILA, June 16, 2016Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales affirmed the filing of charges against former Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief Alan Purisima and Special Action Force Director Getulio Napeñas for their involvement in the botched Mamasapano operation in 2015. Ombudsman Morales directed the filing of Informations with the Sandiganbayan for violation of Section 3(a) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act (Republic Act No. 3019) and Usurpation of Authority or Official Function.

Aside from criminal indictment, Purisima and Napeñas were also found administratively liable for Grave Misconduct, Gross Neglect of Duty and Conduct Prejudicial to the Best Interest of the Service. However, since Purisima was ordered dismissed from the service in June 2015 and Napeñas retired in July 2015, the alternative penalty of fine equivalent to their salary of one year was imposed. They were also meted the accessory penalties of perpetual disqualification for reemployment in the government service, forfeiture of retirement benefits and cancellation of eligibility.

In its Order, the Ombudsman ruled that the police officers’ Motions for Reconsideration “deserve scant consideration.” The Office said that “Purisima’s active participation and supervision of Oplan Exodus despite the 10 December 2014 preventive suspension order of the Ombudsman and the 16 December 2014 cease and desist order of OIC-PNP Chief Espina both issued against him, violated the PNP chain of command and amounted to usurpation of official functions.”

Insofar as Napeñas is concerned, “his constant reporting and official dealings with Purisima, notwithstanding the latter’s suspension, and sans the knowledge and approval of then-OIC PNP Chief Espina, made him liable as a cohort of Purisima in usurping official functions.”

The Ombudsman also added that “Napeñas’ plea of leniency on account of his 37 years of meritorious service in government cannot be countenanced by this Office considering that the penalty of dismissal from the service is an indivisible penalty.”

Under Article 177 of the RPC, in order to be liable for Usurpation, “there must be a clear showing that the person being charged had performed an act pertaining to any person in authority or public officer of the Philippine government, under pretense of official position, and without lawfully being entitled to do so.”

Meanwhile, Section 3(a) of R.A. No. 3019 prohibits a public officer who persuades, induces or influences another public officer to perform an act constituting a violation of rules or regulations.

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