BI personnel ordered to arrest Misuari, 3 other MNLF leaders
The Bureau of Immigration (BI) on Friday directed all immigration personnel to arrest and detain Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) founding chair Nur Misuari and three other leaders of the rebel group who are facing charges in connection to the 21-day bloody siege in Zamboanga City last month.
BI officer in charge Commissioner Siegfred Mison said Misuari, Ustadz Habier Malik, Bas Arki and Assamin Hussin should be taken into custody if any of them attempt to pass through immigration counters in any of the country’s international airports and seaports.
Mison’s order was pursuant to a memorandum issued by the Justice Secretary Leila de Lima on Thursday.
Immigration officers stationed in airports and seaports were also directed to immediately coordinate with other law enforcement agencies, including the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), in executing the arrest warrants and delivering them to the nearest police station or jail facility, said the agency.
In an interview with reporters, Mison said there was also a possibility that the four MNLF leaders could flee the country by “island hopping” until they reach Malaysia.
“Based on our immigration records, [Misuari] has not left the country passing through any forms of exit. But it is always possible that [he would go] island hopping until he reaches Malaysia, which he has been doing for quite sometime,” said Mison.
To prevent this, the BI official said there must be serious “team effort” among the Philippine Navy, the Coast Guard and other border patrol authorities. “Because if he will not go through the gate, we will not completely monitor him,” said Mison.
De Lima yesterday said the 57 MNLF members who were arrested or who surrendered following their attack on Zamboanga City will most likely be detained at Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig City.
“I’m sure that the [interior department’s] Bureau of Jail Management and Penology is making certain preparations already with respect to that because that (Camp Bagong Diwa) was in our mind when we asked for the transfer of the venue of the case hearings,” De Lima told reporters.
The Secretary welcomed the Supreme Court’s approval of the DOJ’s request to transfer the venue of the hearings from Zamboanga to the Metro Manila.
She added that once the case is raffled to a Taguig RTC judge, as the high court had instructed, the records of the case will also be forwarded to him and he is expected to issue a new commitment order for the detainees.
De Lima said the Camp Bagong Diwa detention center, being a more secure facility, would deter rescue attempts. She said it was Zamboanga Mayor Ma. Isabelle Climaco Salazar who had suggested the transfer, which government prosecutors agreed to, citing “serious security concerns and the high probability of a rescue attempt.”
“It think [the MNLF detainees] will be more secure in Camp Bagong Diwa, which already hosts high-profile detainees such as suspected Abu Sayyaf members and members of the Ampatuan clan [charged for the Maguindanao massacre]. But of course, they will not be mixed together and will be confined in different facilities.
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.