City legal team evaluates proofs against 42 released MNLF men PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 19 March 2015 11:41

The city’s legal team is currently evaluating the records of the 42 suspected Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) members charged with involvement in the 2013 Zamboanga siege but were recently cleared and released by the Pasig Regional Trial Court due to  lack of evidence.

City Legal Officer Atty. Jesus Carbon said the evaluation of records is purposely to check if there are evidences that will merit the refilling of cases against the 42 released from jail last March 13.

And based on initial findings, Atty. Carbon said, there are evidences that prove that the 42 MNLF members participated in the attack. “We have found affidavits and other records or evidences that point to their involvement in the siege.”

Based on media reports, the dismissal was allegedly because some of the MNLF members charged were just seen running away from the conflict zone and the only evidence against them is the affidavit of the arresting officer.

The CLP records show that 288 suspected MNLF members accused for direct or indirect involvement in the Zamboanga siege, of which 11 are at large, 278 are detained in Taguig, 6 are minors and 7 are women. All of them have been detained for over a year and have yet to be arraigned.

When asked why the delay in the arraignment, Carbon said it is due to various petitions for reinvestigations filed by the counsels of the accused. After the reinvestigation, the Department of Justice has recommended the dismissal of more or less 60 accused, in which the city government moved for reconsideration.

And out of the 60, about 42 have been cleared. The city government however, has yet to receive a copy of the Pasig RTC decision.

“These records were handled by the City Prosecutor’s Office, so we borrowed all these (records) for evaluation. The prosecutors are busy also with their work that is why we’re taking over the evaluation of the evidences,” said Atty. Carbon.

Meanwhile, the City Legal Officer reiterated that the prosecution of the cases filed against suspects will be very challenging to include the transport of the witnesses to Manila.

Both Carbon and Mayor Beng Climaco last Monday expressed surprise over the surprise over the decision of the Pasig RTC but vowed to pursue justice in memory of those who died during the attack. — Sheila Covarrubias