Taguig court convicts Maute recruiter for terrorism, 2 others for rebellion
A Taguig City Regional Trial Court (RTC) on Tuesday convicted a recruiter of ISIS-inspired Maute group for terrorism, and two other members for rebellion – the first court verdict in connection with the 2017 Marawi City siege.
Nur Supian, an alleged member of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), was sentenced to suffer up to 40 years in jail, without the benefit of parole, for setting up a training camp for Maute fighters.
But Taguig City RTC Branch 70 acquitted Supian’s co-accused, Salip Ismael Abdulla, Marvin Ahmad, and Issa Ukkang, saying the prosecution failed to prove their guilt beyond reasonable doubt.
In a separate ruling, the Taguig City court through acting President Judge Felix Reyes found Araji Samindih and Umad Harun guilty of rebellion and were sentenced to imprisonment of up to 14 years.
The promulgation of the case was conducted inside the Metro Manila District Jail Annex at Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig City.
In convicting Supian, the court said there was enough proof he was responsible for putting up “Camp Jabal Nur” or the “Tiger Base” in Barangay Pang, Kalingalang Caluang in Sulu where recruits of ISIS-inspired Maute group underwent trainings.
“After proving the established plan of accused Supian, there is no doubt that his acts sowed and create a condition of widespread and extraordinary fear and panic among the populace, in order to coerce the government to give in to unlawful demand. Supian is guilty of the crime of terrorism under R.A. 9732,” the court said in its 27-page ruling.
The court also quoted witnesses as saying Supian told recruits “they are Mujahideen and they have an obligation to support their beleaguered fellow Mujahideen in Marawi City.”
Supian denied the allegations saying he was not a Maute member but an MNLF member who was on his way to their camp for a “peace talk” along with 31 other people when captured by authorities.
But the court said evidence shows Supian was part of the gunfight between Maute and military on August 10, 2017, where two marines were killed.
On the part of Samindih and Harun, they were identified by military witnesses to be within 15 meters away from the position of the Maute fighters.
“Their testimony, taken together with the other circumstances presented in court is suffice to establish an unbroken chain which leads to one fair and reasonable conclusion: both accused together with their unidentified companions, mutually helped and assisted one another in committing the crime of rebellion,” the court said.
On the other hand, the court acquitted Monalisa Solaiman Romato and Tahera Romato Taher. The two were arrested in Aluba, Barangay Macasanding in Cagayan De Oro City by members of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG). Allegedly, the two were subject of a search warrant addressed to a certain “Irene Idris” who was believed to be delivering explosives to Maute fighters.
Authorities said they seized explosives such as M203 grenades and plastic caps from the two, but the court said they “cannot be considered to have dominion and control over the confiscated explosives.”
The Taguig City RTC pointed out that no less than the prosecution witness admitted that the confiscated explosives were not in the actual possession of the two ladies. The court added there was also no proof the two were actual residents of the apartment that was a subject of the warrant.
The five-month Marawi siege left the Islamic city torn and the government is still in the process of rebuilding the area.
The cases were originally filed before the courts in Cagayan de Oro, but the Supreme Court opted to transfer the cases to Manila upon the request of the Department of Justice for security reasons. /kga
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