Court clears Misuari in Zambo siege case

Court clears Misuari in Zamboanga siege case

/ 05:06 AM January 26, 2024

Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) Chairman Nur Misuari.

Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) Chairman Nur Misuari. —MALACAÑANG PHOTO

ZAMBOANGA CITY — A court in Metro Manila has cleared Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) founding chair Nur Misuari of rebellion and genocide charges in connection with the 20-day siege in Zamboanga City launched by his followers in 2013.

Presiding Judge Elma Rafallo-Lingan of Pasig City Regional Trial Court Branch 159 dismissed the charges of war crimes under Republic Act (RA) No. 9851, and rebellion under the Revised Penal Code, for “insufficiency of evidence.”


“This court is convinced that the prosecution can no longer establish the guilt of accused Misuari beyond reasonable doubt, hence, the dismissal of these cases is perforce in order,” Lingan said in the court ruling dated Dec. 20, 2023, a copy of which was made available to the Inquirer only recently.


READ: What Went Before: Nur Misuari-led attacks on Zamboanga City

The charges were filed against the 84-year-old Misuari in 2013 by then Zamboanga City Mayor Ma. Isabelle Climaco, the Armed Forces of the Philippines and several private complainants, as a result of the Zamboanga siege.

These included two counts of violation of RA 9851, or the Philippine Act on Crimes Against International Humanitarian Law, Genocide and Other Crimes Against Humanity; and one count of rebellion under Article 134 of the Revised Penal Code, which sprang from the siege allegedly waged by Misuari’s supporters led by Habier Malik, Ustadz Esmael Dasta, Hadjirin Hadji Amin and Bas Arki, among others.

The intense fighting from Sept. 8 to Sept. 28 in 2013, which involved air and artillery attacks, destroyed at least 10,000 houses in the villages of Rio Hondo, Sta. Barbara, Sta. Catalina and some parts of Talon-Talon; displaced over 120,000 residents; and left more than 200 people dead.

READ: What Went Before: The MNLF siege of Zamboanga City

Climaco had alleged that Misuari “promoted, maintained and headed the rebellion,” using as basis her telephone conversation of him in which the MNLF founder supposedly said that he was giving his leaders “a free hand.”DOJ resolution

In March last year, the court remanded the cases to the Department of Justice (DOJ) “to afford accused Misuari the full measure of his right to due process.”

In Oct. 25 last year, the DOJ issued a resolution dismissing the charges against Misuari, also for insufficiency of evidence.


“Clearly, accused Misuari is being charged for his alleged participation or execution of commands of others in the rebellion. However, as correctly observed by the prosecution during its reinvestigation, no one claims to have seen him during the attacks,” read the court decision.

Reacting to the development, Climaco said she was “saddened” by the dismissal of charges against Misuari.

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“We sought justice for all the victims, the property damage, for all the heroes who defended us and especially for all those who lost their lives in that tragedy,” Climaco said in a text message to the Inquirer on Thursday.

TAGS: Misuari, Regions, Zamboanga

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