Ex-Philippine leader appeals charges over 2015 carnage

Former Philippine president Benigno Aquino III has filed an appeal over charges framed against him by the Ombudsman over a botched anti-terror raid in Mindanao in 2015.

Aquino's spokesperson Abigail Valte confirmed the filing of a motion for reconsideration on Wednesday but refused to release a copy of the motion to the media, according to a report by ABS-CBN.

On Friday, the investigating body said in a statement that Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales ordered Aquino be charged for usurping authority and allowing a suspended police chief, Alan Purisima, to run the fatal January 2015 commando raid.

Purisima and the former chief of the police Special Action Force, retired Director Getulio Napenas were included in the charges.

Philippine Star quoted Aquino as saying in an interview on Monday that he was surprised by the charges filed by the Ombudsman.

"Definitely [surprised]. But I want to make sure…I said, was I ever charged for this offense or was there a complaint ever filed? And my lawyers responded: 'There was no such complaint'," Philippine star quoted the former president as saying.

The Ombudsman's case against Aquino involves his administration's Oplan Exodus, a codename of the operation, which sought to neutralize Malaysian terrorists Zulkifli bin Hir, also known as Marwan, and Abdul Basit Usman.

On January 25, 2015, at least 44 policemen and 17 fighters of Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) were killed after the commandos of elite police raided Tukanalipao village in Mamasapano town of Maguindanao province.

The incident stalled deliberations on the Bangsamoro Basic Law, whose passage is part of the peace agreement signed by the Aquino government with the MILF in March 2014.
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