MANILA -- Senator Paolo Benigno Aquino IV on Wednesday expressed confidence that his cousin, former President Benigno Aquino III, will face the graft and usurpation charges against him with “courage” and “honesty.”

The former president was formally charged with graft and usurpation before the Sandiganbayan due to his involvement in the deaths of the 44 Special Action Force (SAF) troopers in Mamasapano, Maguindanao in 2015.

He was accused of violating Section 3(a) of R.A. 3019, or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, as well as Article 177 of the Revised Penal Code.

Sa simula pa lang, naging bukas na ang dating pangulong Aquino ukol sa kanyang naging papel sa trahedya sa Mamasapano, kaya tiwala akong haharapin niya ang kaso ng buong tapang at katapatan,” Senator Aquino said.

(“From the very beginning, our former President Aquino has always been open about his role during the Mamasapano tragedy, that’s why I am confident that he will face the case with full courage and honesty.”)

The senator said that he believes that his cousin would “speak in the proper forum.”

Inaasahan naming mabibigyan na siya ng pagkakataon na ilabas ang katotohanan sa angkop na lugar (We expect that he will have the opportunity, to tell the truth in the proper forum),” Aquino said.

Inaasahan rin natin na sa huli, mananaig ang katarungan at katotohanan sa Sandiganbayan at sa puso ng mga Pilipino (“We also expect that in the end, justice and truth will prevail in the Sandiganbayan and the hearts of Filipinos),” he added. (PNA)