Still no charges filed vs suspects in deadly Davao bombing, says DOJ
The three men arrested in the bombing of the Davao City night market which killed 15 people were picked up by the authorities in connection with a kidnapping case where they were identified only as John Does, a Department of Justice official revealed on Wednesday.
Senior Assistant State Prosecutor Peter Ong also said the suspects—TJ Tagadaya Macabalang, Wendell Apostol Factoran and Musali Mustapha— had yet to be charged for their alleged role in the Sept. 2 explosion that wounded about 70 others.
Presiding over the start of the preliminary hearing of the case, Ong said the suspects underwent inquest at the DOJ on Oct. 7 only for illegal possession of firearms and explosives.
Assisted by public lawyer Ma. Elisa Jonalyn Barquez, the suspects denied involvement in the bomb attack.
The military said the three were members of the local terrorist cell Maute group, said to be a faction of the Abu Sayyaf which had sworn allegiance to the Islamic State.
“When they were brought here for inquest, the Philippine Army showed a warrant of arrest for kidnapping. When I asked where their names were on the warrant, [the Army officers] said they were included as John Does,” Ong told reporters after the hearing.
“That’s a no-no. We don’t file cases against John Does and just pick up anyone because they’re John Does,” he said. “So we disregarded the warrant of arrest.”
She also noted that the three were taken to the DOJ for inquest beyond the mandatory 36-hour period for persons arrested for a criminal offense.
Ryan Bantile, counsel of the Army and the police Criminal Investigation and Detection Group, admitted the suspects were not yet included in the case the government had filed in Davao City in connection with the explosion.
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