Celso backs city’s stand on case against MNLFs PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 06 August 2016 14:25

By DEXTER YAP

“As a representative, I will support however I will suggest that the city government form a legal team to study these options. Whatever is the decision of our local officials, I am totally supporting it.”

These were the words of Congressman Celso Lobregat when asked about his position on the prevailing issue on the case filed by the city government of Zamboanga against rogue members of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) who are presently detained at the government detention facility in Bicutan,Taguig.

In an interview with RMN Zamboanga Friday morning, Lobregat said the plea bargaining agreement being sought by the accused to determine the plight of the case filed against them by the city of Zamboanga is tantamount to admission of guilt but seeking for a lesser penalty.

“I am supporting the move of the city officials on this matter, the local government should have good legal team to defend our position on this issue,” Lobregat said.

The solon suggested that a strong and legally equipped battery of lawyers must defend at all cause the position of the people in defense of th  city that was attacked by rogue rebels in September 2013.

Recall that in the DOJ counter proposal on the plea of the accused rebels, it states the reduction of  the charges of rebellion to illegal assembly for at least 200 MNLF and for them to plead guilty on being accessories to violation of the International Humanitarian Law (IHL). The DOJ was of the belief that there was insufficient evidence to pin down the MNLFs  for rebellion and direct violations of IHL.

The hearing was set last June 16 to 17, 2016 and another one is scheduled on August 9, 2016.

The City Council has passed a resolution Tuesday supporting whatever move the local chief executive will take on the case. All members recommended to join the city government officials.

About 140 of the 250 accused MNLF members linked to the siege pleaded guilty on a lesser crime of illegal assembly.

Illegal assembly has a penalty of four years and two months to eight years imprisonment without parole.

It has been speculated that the judge may have been concerned with the prosecution of the case because there are 250 of them, and it could take years to prosecute. – Dexter Yap