Duterte: Ombudsman charges vs. Aquino 'meant to fail'

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, July 18) — President Rodrigo Duterte said the Ombudsman's charges against his predecessor regarding the botched 2015 Mamasapano incident are "meant to fail."

Duterte even said the January 25, 2015 police operation was a success since government forces were able to kill international terrorist Zulkifli bin Hir Marwan, even at the expense of 44 Special Action Force (SAF) troops.

"Nothing was agreed by (former Philippine National Police Director General Alan Purisima) except that he was helping the President (Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino) implement the law. Ngayon kung sino yung utusan niya, wala kang pakialam (No one has a say on his decisions), because he has the trust," Duterte during an ambush interview on Malacanang, Monday.

The Ombudsman, in a resolution approved on Friday, ordered the filing of criminal charges against former president Aquino for usurpation of authority and violation of the anti-graft law.

READ: Ex-President Aquino faces criminal raps over Mamasapano encounter, cleared of homicide

According to the resolution, Aquino made a mistake in allowing Purisima to play a major role in the Mamasapano operation despite being under preventive suspension.

Senator Grace Poe backed the Ombudsman's charges against the former president.

"Yung usurpation of authority, dalawang bagay lang yan, either meron kang direct involvement o ikaw ang nag-induce o gumawa ng paraan para mangyari ito… Malinaw na ang pangulo marahil ang syang nagtulak nitong usurpation kasi hindi naman kikilos si Purisima kung walang direktang utos sa kanya," Poe said in an interview Monday, adding Aquino knew of Purisima's suspension.

[Translation: Usurpation of authority is either you have a direct involvement or you did something to make it happen. It's clear that there was usurpation since Purisima would not act upon it without the former president's orders.]

Poe led the Senate's Mamasapano probe in aid of legislation two years ago as the chairperson of the Committee on Public Order. The Senate investigation pointed to Aquino as the one responsible for the botched operation.

READ: Senate invites high-profile officials for the reopening of Mamasapano probe

But Duterte said Aquino was just "asking for the advice from a professional police."

"I do not see anything wrong there. Nothing was signed," the President said.

Duterte, however, said one of Aquino's shortcomings was not being able to send reinforcements in time.

Poe also aired the same sentiments.

"Tayo ay nakikisimpatya sa pamilya na siguro kung mabilis ang desisyon ng pangulo, unang una, hindi niya kinuha ang isang suspendidong PNP chief, pangalawa, agad-agad nagpadala ng reinforcement, masasabi nating maaaring nailigtas ang ating mga police officers doon," she said.

[Translation: We sympathize with the families. If only the former president refrained from giving orders to a suspended PNP chief, and also if he has sent reinforcement, the police officers could have been saved.]

Former president Aquino said he will file his motion for reconsideration on Tuesday, July 18.

CNN Philippines' Ina Andolong contributed to this report.