SAF 44 kin file murder charges vs Moro rebels
Twelve family members of the Special Action Force (SAF) police officers who were killed in a clash with Muslim rebels in Mamasapano, Maguindanao, have filed murder and robbery charges against the Moro Isamic Liberation Front (MILF), the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) and private armed groups in the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), according to a former military scout ranger and father of one of the slain policemen.
In an interview inside the NBI compound, Perlito Agabon, father of P03 Chum Agabon, told the Inquirer that the grieving families have yet to see the perpetrators of the crime officially charged for the deaths of their relatives in the Jan. 25 bloody clash.
Agabon said they decided to take the case to the NBI in the hope that the rebel gunmen would be held accountable for the brutal deaths of the 44 members of the Philippine National Police-SAF 55th Special Action Company in Mamasapano while carrying out a mission to capture top Malaysian terrorist Zulkifli bin Abdul Hir, alias “Marwan,” and Filipino bomb expert Basit Usman.
“We appreciate the BOI (Board of Inquiry) and the Senate report, but unless we file a formal complaint, we could never get justice for my son and the others,’’ Agabon said.
The family filed their complaints in the NBI-National Capital Region Division before Justice Secretary Leila de Lima released the result of the Joint NBI-National Prosecution Service Special Investigation team findings on the Mamasapano incident.
Asked to comment on the complaint of the families of the victims, Assistant State Prosecutor Juan Pedro Navera welcomed the move, saying “it would help hasten the filing of information.’’
An agent on case said the complainants have filed their sworn statements, including a narration of their last communication with the slain policemen.
The agent said more complainants are expected to submit their affidavits to the NBI investigators next week.
The complainants also submitted to the NBI copies of the medico-legal reports detailing the wounds and cause of deaths of the policemen killed in the encounter.
The affidavits also stated that some of the SAF personnel assigned in Zamboanga City who were transported to Maguindanao in private vans admitted they were not familiar with the terrain of the clash area.
The complainants also reported the condition of their relatives’ remains when they claimed them from a military camp where they had been held.
Based on the affidavits, the slain policemen were mostly breadwinners.
Agabon, in his sworn statement to the NBI, said that as early as 4 a.m. on Jan. 25, a SAF member who was not in the operation called him up and relayed a message from his son Chum that Marwan had been neutralized and they were engaged in a firefight against MILF and BIFF members.
Three hours later, Agabon recalled that the SAF member called him again to inform him that his son’s group was already “closely surrounded by enemy forces.’’
“I understand the message was a cry for help because as a former scout ranger, my son thought I could help,’’ Agabon said.
Agabon said that Chum was also able to talk to his brother who told him they were heavily fired upon by the enemies and they were running out of ammunition.
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