MNLFs’ plea bargaining offer agreed in principle? PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 01 June 2016 13:26

By VIC LARATO

The more or less 150 followers of Nur Misuari’s faction in the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), who were accused of rebellion and violations of International Humanitarian Law in connection with the Zamboanga siege, might soon be released from prison and get away with the heavier penalties.

This scenario is painted following the revelation of City Legal Officer Jesus Carbon Jr. that the Department of Justice had already approved in principle the plea bargaining offer of the accused MNLF members, allowing them to plead guilty of lower charges instead.

However, Atty. Carbon lamented he has not yet received a copy of such tentative approval by the DOJ despite his repeated requests for such copy, saying a DOJ clearance has to be secured first.

He said the DOJ was of the belief that the Zamboanga siege, of which the MNLFs were accused, was a public crime, thus warranting a plea bargaining agreement wherein the rebellion charges and IHL violations will be swapped with lower charges that carry lower penalties.

To which, Atty. arbon, an erstwhile regional trial court judge, disagreed, stressing the siege had affected so many private individuals—the civilians, who lost their lives and properties to the 23-day attack on the city.

To his surprise, the city legal officer told the press briefing Monday that the judge handling the MNLF cases had issued a gag order, mandating everybody not to talk about the issue/cases, and any questions regarding the matter should be addressed to the spokesman of the Supreme Court.

“I did not know about this gag order,” he said.

Carbon was in Pasig City last week attending the pre trial of the MNLF cases, only then did he know about the judge’s gag order that apparently stemmed from his comments on the issue that were published in local newspapers.— Vic Larato