Court junks plea to dismiss suit of slain SAF trooper's kin

>> Friday, February 24, 2017

LA TRINIDAD, Benguet -- Branch 62 of the Regional Trial Court of Benguet set next hearing on Feb 16 as he junked plea to dismiss a P12-million damage suit against former Philippine National Police Director General Alan Purisima, retired Director Getulio Napeñas Jr. and three Army officers.
The damage suit was filed by the family of a SAF commando slain in the Jan. 25, 2015 Mamasapano massacre.
Denying plea of police and Army officials, Judge Danilo Camacho's Dec. 19, 2016 order released last week said "the defendants cannot hide behind [this legal principle] for their sloppy and neglectful performance of duty as government officials."
He said "government officials and employees are accountable for their actions as such under the principle that the public office is a public trust."
Purisima and his co-defendants asked the court to dismiss the suit filed by family of the late Senior Insp. Getnad Tabdi, arguing they acted within their official capacities in the operation to arrest a Malaysian terrorist.
They said they were covered by a Constitutional provision preventing anyone from suing the government.
In separate motions, Napeñas and Army officials Lt. Gen. Rustico Guerrero, Maj. Gen. Edmundo Pangilinan and Col. Gener del Rosario sought the dismissal of the case in 2016.
Napeñas claimed the complaint lacks cause of action and defendants cannot be liable for damages because they were sued in their official capacities.
He added the complaint was premature because there were pending investigations at the time it was filed. He added that the complainants failed to exhaust all “available administrative remedies”.
Guerrero alleged that "there is no factual or legal basis to attribute negligence on the part of any of the military officials."
Pangilinan was the commander of the 6th Infantry Division; Guerrero was the area commander of the AFP’s Western Mindanao command and del Rosario was the brigade commander of the 1st Mechanized Infantry Brigade at the time of the incident.
Camacho in his decision said the complaint alleged as its cause of action negligence of the defendants in the performance of their duty.
Purisima, in his defense filed November 2015 claimed Garcia and Edna Tabdi, parents of Sr. Insp. Tabdi have no legal personality to file the case.

“Being the parents of the one who died, allegedly due to the defendants’ negligence, they are by law entitled to damages, for the mental anguish and emotional turmoil they have undergone for the untimely death of their son,” Camacho, however, ruled.


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