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Palace hands off on SC TRO lifting on Mamasapano case vs. Aquino

Palace cannot and has no intention to interfere the TRO lifting on Mamasapano case vs. Aquino

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MANILA – Malacañang said it will not interfere with the decision of the Supreme Court (SC) to lift the temporary restraining order (TRO) on the Mamasapano trial against former President Benigno Aquino III in 2017.

Presidential Spokesperson and Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo said the Palace cannot and has no intention to interfere with the functions of other branches, which are distinct from the Executive.

“In accordance with the policy that has long been practiced by this Administration, we refuse to comment on the action undertaken by the Supreme Court, which belongs to a separate and independent branch of government from ours,” Panelo said in a statement on Wednesday.

Panelo said the Palace believes that the Office of the Ombudsman and the Sandiganbayan can tackle the matter with independence pursuant to their respective mandates.

“As these institutions afford each citizen his or her constitutional guarantees under the Bill of Rights, we expect the latter to respect the proceedings and bow to the majesty of the law,” Panelo said.

“We will, as usual, let the law take its course,” he added.

Panelo said the President and his administration will always uphold the rule of law, regardless of the political and social stature of those involved in cases pending before the Judiciary.

Aquino is facing graft and usurpation charges over the ill-planned Jan. 25, 2015 Mamasapano operation that resulted in the death of 60 individuals, including 44 members of the Special Action Force (SAF) commandos.

The anti-terror raid, known as Oplan Exodus, was conducted to serve warrants on Malaysian terror suspect Zulkifli Bin Hir, alias “Marwan”, and Filipino bomb maker Abdul Basit Usman. Marwan was killed in the operation.

Ombudsman Samuel Martires earlier filed a motion to withdraw the charges of graft and usurpation of public office filed by former Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales against Aquino, saying there is no basis for these charges since he acted as commander-in-chief of the military and police.

Following the lifting of the TRO, the Sandiganbayan can now proceed to act on Martires’ request to drop the charges against the former President. (PNA / Azer Parrocha)

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