SAF44 kin to ask SC to review Ombudsman decision on Mamasapano

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, November 3) — Some parents of the SAF44 will file a petition before the Supreme Court questioning the decision of the Office of the Ombudsman to downgrade the case to be filed against former President Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III.

The SAF44 refers to the 44 members of the Philippine National Police (PNP) Special Action Force (SAF) who perished in a bloody and brutal encounter with rebels in Maguindanao.

The case was filed against Aquino, former PNP chief Alan Purisima, and former SAF chief Getulio Napeñas before the Sandiganbayan.

The Office of the Ombudsman earlier downgraded the case that some SAF44 relatives filed against the former president from 44 counts of reckless imprudence resulting to homicide to one count of usurpation of authority.

Two SAF44 parents, Helen Ramacula and Felicitas Nacino, and the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption will ask the Supreme Court to annul and reverse the Ombudsman's decision dismissing the complaint for reckless imprudence.

"Ang namatay, bakit naman magiging one lang. 44 kami na nawalan ng anak. Hindi naman siguro pwede iyon," Ramacula said.

[Translation: Why would they reduce the number of dead to just one? There are 44 of us who lost a son. We could not let that happen.]

"Siya po ang Presidente. Siya po ang chief. Sya po ang nag-uutos sa lahat ng gagawin ng SAF44 kasi siya po ang may power lang. Siya ang Commander-in-chief," she added.

[Translation: He was the president. He was the chief. He was gave out all the orders that the SAF44 did, because only he has the power. He was the Commander-in-chief.]

They will also ask the Supreme Court to direct the Ombudsman to file these cases against the former President before the Sandiganbayan.

Atty. Ferdinand Topacio, lawyer of some of the SAF44 relatives, argued that the Office of the Ombudsman intentionally downgraded the cases against Aquino to usurpation of authority because it is weaker and is easier to dismiss.

"Para po sa amin, ang ginawang ito ng ating Ombudsman ay pagpo-protekta sa dating pangulo...This was set up para ma-dismiss kung ito ay lilitisin ng Sandiganbayan thereby protecting the former president from any sort of criminal liability," Topacio said.

[Translation: For us, what our Ombudsman did was protecting our former president...This was set up so it could be dismissed if it will be tried at the Sandiganbayan, thereby protecting the former president from any sort of criminal liability.]

Topacio said the families are just waiting on additional documents, and are planning to file the petition by Monday.

They are also set to file an impeachment complaint against Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales on November 20, when Congress returns from a month-long recess.

On January 25, 2015, the SAF44 were sent on a covert mission to the town of Mamasapano to capture the wanted Malaysian terrorist Marwan.

Following a Senate investigation and an independent inquiry into the botched Mamasapano operation and the deaths of the 44 troops, the Office of the Ombudsman in July ordered the filing of charges of usurpation of authority against Aquino and Purisima.

CNN Philippines' correspondent Joyce Ilas contributed to this report.