DOJ completes initial probe on case vs Moro rebels
The Department of Justice (DOJ) has already wrapped up its preliminary investigation on the complex crime of direct assault with murder case filed by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) against 90 Moro rebels for the death of the 35 members of the Philippine National Police – Special Action Force (PNP-SAF) in a day-long firefight in Tukanalipao, Mamasapano, Maguindanao a year ago.
However, the DOJ panel of investigators refused to give a commitment that a resolution will come out in time for the first year commemoration of the death of the PNP elite commandos.
“We cannot give you a definite time frame or period (as to) when we will resolve this case. We will resolve this based on the allegations,” Assistant State Prosecutor Alexander Suarez told reporters after the hearing Thursday.
The DOJ panel wrapped up its preliminary investigation after the NBI said it will no longer respond to the counter-affidavit submitted by the respondents.
Out of the 90 respondents, only four respondents have submitted their counter-affidavits.
“They cannot tell actually the reason why they cannot file a counter-affidavit, but we the panel issued a subpoena for them to participate. As to matter of the decision to submit a counter-affidavit on this case, well, it’s up to them,” Suarez said.
During Thursday’s preliminary investigation, Atty. Carlos Valdez told the DOJ panel that three more respondents had just received copies of the complaint that the NBI filed against them. He identified them as Ronnie Samal, Manny Samal, and Hadji Mao.
He said the copies of the complaint was given to the three through Mamasapano, Maguindanao Mayor Benzar Ampatuan.
Valdez said the three respondents got the services of the Public Attorneys’ Office (PAO) but could not afford to fly to Manila.
Also, during the preliminary investigation, the NBI submitted an inventory of recovered firearms and combat equipment, which were allegedly taken from the victims in this case, with corresponding values of these firearms and equipment.
Facing the DOJ probe are 13 commanders of MILF and six commanders of BIFF. But the names of the respondents were not made public so as to prevent them from evading possible prosecution.
The complaint against the 90 individuals covers only the death of 35 members of the 55th SAF company that engaged MILF and BIFF fighters and PAGs in the cornfields of Barangay (village) Tukanalipao.
The 90 individuals were accused of acting “in conspiracy with one another to attack,employ force, seriously intimidate or resist the 35 SAF commandos, who were uniformed police officers and, thus persons in authority.” IDL
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