The Philippine Supreme Court yesterday ordered the country’s anti-graft court to suspend proceedings against former president Benigno Aquino over a botched anti-terrorism operation that left 44 police officers dead in 2015.
Aquino was scheduled to be arraigned on charges of graft and usurping authority on February 15, but the high tribunal issued a temporary restraining order against the arraignment and other proceedings at the Santiganbayan anti-graft court.
The order was aimed at allowing the Supreme Court to study petitions filed by relatives of two of the police officers killed in the January 2015 operation, and the country’s solicitor general.
“I commend the Supreme Court for granting the temporary restraining order and upholding the sacred duty of the state to prosecute crimes,” Solicitor General Jose Calida said in a tweet.”This is the first step to hold those responsible for the senseless killing.”
In January 2015, almost 400 special forces personnel were dispatched to Mamasapano town in Maguindanao province to serve an arrest warrant on Malaysian suspect Zulkifli bin Hir, also known as Marwan. While Marwan was killed in the operation, the police forces were met with heavy gunfire from rebels protecting the suspect, leading to the deaths of 44 officers.
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