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Acting DOJ chief evades questions on Mamasapano case

'Let’s not talk about that'
/ 04:13 PM April 26, 2016
FALLEN COP Policemen carry the body bag of a comrade, one of 64 members of the elite Special Action Force of the Philippine National Police who died in a clash with Moro fighters in Mamasapano, Maguindanao province. JEOFFREY MAITEM/INQUIRER MINDANAO FILE PHOTO

FALLEN COP Policemen carry the body bag of a comrade, one of 64 members of the elite Special Action Force of the Philippine National Police who died in a clash with Moro fighters in Mamasapano, Maguindanao province last January 2015.
JEOFFREY MAITEM/INQUIRER MINDANAO FILE PHOTO

Acting Justice Secretary Emmanuel Caparas on Tuesday was evasive to questions about the status of the cases filed against those responsible for the death of 35 of 44 members of the elite police force in January 2015 in Mamasapano.

Last January, Caparas said the Mamasapano case will be resolved in three to four weeks.

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By February, Prosecutor General Claro Arellano said the resolution of the preliminary investigation against 90 individuals would probably be released by March because it is still subject to review.

That same month, Caparas made the same assurance that the resolution will be released by March.

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During Tuesday’s press conference, when asked about an update on the Mamasapano case, he said, “Let’s not talk about that.”

When asked why, he said, “Let’s not talk about that please.”

Earlier, Caparas appealed to the public for understanding, saying that the panel needs to carefully study the evidence collected in the course of the investigation to ensure an airtight case against the respondents.

When asked why he cannot talk about the Mamasapano case, he again said, “I am not going to answer that question. I am really sorry.”

Out of the 90 respondents from the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, Bangsamoro Islamic Liberation Front, and private armed groups, only four respondents have submitted their counter-affidavits to the prosecution panel.

Those who submitted their counter-affidavits were Pendatun Utek Makakua, Mustapha Tatak, Lakiman Dawaling, and Khalim Keda.

Aside from the murder charges, the respondents are also charged with theft for allegedly stealing the firearms, communications equipment, night vision goggles, cellular phones, and other personal belongings of the slain Philippine National Police-Special Action Force personnel.

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Of the 90 respondents, 13 are battalion commanders of the MILF and six are commanders of the BIFF.

They were charged with the killing of 35 members of the 55th Special Action Company in Tukanalipao, Mamasapano, Maguindanao. JE

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TAGS: DoJ, Emmanuel Caparas, Mamasapano, Mamasapano case, Mamasapano probe
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