Maute member gets life term for possession of explosive device
MANILA, Philippines–The Quezon City Regional Trial Court has convicted an alleged member of the Maute terrorist group for illegal possession of explosive device.
Quezon City RTC Branch 92 Presiding Judge Eleuterio Larisma Bathan meted the penalty of reclusion perpetua or up to 40 years of imprisonment against Unday Macadato or Solaiman Omar.
Unday was arrested on May 7, 2018 in Cubao after residents in the area reported about a person cocking and loading his short firearm. He was taken by the police and recovered from him a black bag containing a black flag/handkerchief with the ISIS logo and a Grenade Hand Frag M26A1.
During preliminary investigation, Unday claimed that his arrest was a case of mistaken identity. He said his name is not Unday Macadato but he is actually Solaiman Omar. He said the grenade, firearm and ISIS flag were planted.
But the Court said Unday was not telling the truth. First, Unday claimed that “nothing was taken from him when he was arrested without warrant” eventually changed during hs testimony when he said that the authorities took his drivers’ license.
Second, he claimed that he is not Unday Macadato and he does not understand Tagalog. But the Court said during trial, Unday testified in Tagalog.
Third, Unday failed to present any witnesses, even the relatives he claimed live in Cubao and Fairview did not appear in court to at least vouch for his character.
The Court added that Unday was arrested not because of the flag or the grenade but because he was reported to have been carrying an unlicensed firearm.
“He failed to disprove with concrete evidence the existence of the subject hand grenade in his possession or control. In fact, he failed to substantiate his defense of planted evidence, in spite of accused Unday’s testimony claiming that there was a CCTV camera there in F. Manalo in Cubao where he was arrested. There was no evidence presented to support his negative assertion,” the Court said.
“[T]he warrantless search that led and resulted in the discovery of the Grenade Hand Frag M26AI (Exhibit F-1) and the black flag/handkerchief with ISIS logo (Exhibit L) was merely incidental to a lawful warrantless arrest,” the Court said.
The Court also noted that Unday did not make a categorial denial about the allegation of his connection with the Maute terror group. The Court said Unday’s name was included in Martial Law Instruction No. 1 dated September 2017, supposedly for his involvement in rebellion./ac
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