The two former police officials face criminal charges for violating Article 177 of the Revised Penal Code on usurpation of authority or official functions as well as section 3 (a) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.
The Ombudsman gave a timeline of events showing Messrs. Purisima and NapeAas acted in concert even after Mr. Purisima's suspension by the Sandiganbayan in December 2014.
Based on the investigation by the Ombudsman's Field Investigation Office, Messrs. Purisima and NapeAas coordinated a top-level meeting with certain officers of the Armed Forces of the Philippines on the operation called Operation Plan Exodus, with the planning proper starting December 23 that year.
The two continued their coordination by January, including mission updates to President Benigno S. C. Aquino III.
"[D]uring the period of Purisima's suspension, he had no authority to perform the duties and functions, much less supervise and/or participate in the conceptualization, mission planning, and execution of a high risk police operation," Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales said in the 40-page joint resolution.
"[B]y taking orders from the suspended Purisima, [it] can be construed as an act in agreement to commit the crime of usurpation of official functions with Purisima," Ms. Morales said of Mr. NapeAas's part.
The two have also been found administratively liable for "Grave Misconduct, Gross Neglect of Duty and Conduct Prejudicial to the Best Interest of the Service," the Ombudsman also said.
Since Mr. Purisima was dismissed from the service in June 2015 and Mr. NapeAas retired in July 2015, the two will instead be fined an amount equivalent to a year's salary, according to their respective pay, and permanently disqualified from government service.
44 SAF commandos died in the operation to capture a pair of leading terrorists which led to a fatal encounter with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). The operation effectively derailed a proposed autonomy law as per the MILF's peace agreement with the government. Apart from the police fatalities, 18 MILF fighters and five civilians were also killed.
Source: Bworld Online