Suspect in attempt to kill Sulu gov welcomes transfer of case
DAVAO CITY, Philippines—A Sulu-based human rights advocate wanted for allegedly being one of the masterminds of a 2009 attempt to kill Sulu Governor Abudsakur Tan said Friday his chances of getting a fair trial were much better now that the Supreme Court has transferred his case to a court in Davao City.
Temojen Tulawie said he was thankful that the Supreme Court granted his petition to transfer his trial on murder and frustrated murder charges filed by Tan from a court in Jolo to the regional trial court here.
“It gives me confidence that I can avail [myself] of a fair trial here,” Tulawie, who has since fled Sulu, told the Inquirer by text message.
Tulawie, former Sulu Representative Munir Arbison and several other Sulu politicians were accused of masterminding the May 13, 2009 explosion outside the Sulu provincial capitol in Patikul town.
The explosion occurred as Tan’s convoy passed by, and the authorities concluded that the bomb attack was aimed at Tan.
Tan then sued Tulawie, a former Jolo councilor, and the other suspects for plotting to kill him.
Tulawie is a known critic of Tan’s policies. As leader of Bawbug-Sulu and Consortium of Bangsamoro Civil Society in Sulu, he led thousands of residents of Jolo in questioning Tan’s decision to place the province under military rule at the height of the campaign against the Abu Sayyaf a few years ago.
In a decision dated June 13 that Tulawie said he received only on August 15, the Supreme Court ordered the Regional Trial Court in Davao to handle the case with “utmost dispatch.”
The decision stated that the case was transferred “as this court may deem convenient, and considering that there is an indication of actual and imminent threat to life of the petitioner and his family, as well as his witnesses.”
“There is a reason to believe that continuing with the trial of the subject matter in Jolo can lead to miscarriage of justice,” the high court said.
“The Supreme Court is clearly convinced that I can never get a fair trial in Sulu, a place controlled by warlords and corrupt politicians,” Tulawie told the Inquirer.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.