Ombudsman clears De Lima, et al. of terror, graft raps
The Office of the Ombudsman has cleared Senator Leila De Lima and several others for allegedly freeing “high-value” Abu Sayyaf suspects in 2013.
Aside from De Lima, also cleared for violation of Republic Act 10168 or The Terrorism Financing Prevention and Suppression Act of 2012 and the Anti-Graft Law include former Sulu Vice Governor Abdusakur Tan, former National Commission head for Muslim Filipinos (NCMF) Mehol Sadain, Edilwasif Baddiri and Tan’s legal counsel Wendel Sotto.
The case stemmed from the complaint filed in 2016 by human rights activists Temogen Tulawi and Abner Salahi Tahil.
The said officials allegedly aided, protected, provided shelter, transportation and legal services as well as financed the release of Abu Sayyaf terrorists Mohammad Sali Said, Jun Ahmad Ahadi and Robin Sahiyal from their detention at the Special Intensive Care Area (SICA) of Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig.
They said the names of the three were inserted in the list of Filipino Muslims wrongfully arrested due to mistaken identity.
De Lima, who was then Justice Secretary said the Department of Justice (DOJ) Task Force on Terrorism recommended the release of 18 Muslim Filipinos including three inmates alleged to be ASG members.
She said the recommendation made by the DOJ was approved by Pasig Regional Trial Court Branch 266 Judge Toribio Ilao Jr.
“The favorable action of Judge Ilao on the recommendation for the release of the 18 Muslim Filipinos including the three inmates alleged to be ASG members shows the regularity in the procedure undertaken both by NCMF and DOJ in vetting evidence,” De Lima said.
She said there was no evidence to show that the release of the suspects was due to her close-ties with Tan or any of her co-respondents.
In dismissing the case, joint resolution dated Jan. 16, 2018 but made public Monday which was approved by Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales stated that “this Office finds no document linking respondents to each other. There is no evidence, nay an allegation, that respondents personally knew, or were acquainted, or in touch with each other to inspire or motivate them to enter into conspiracy.”
“Most importantly, this Office finds no evidence to establish complainants’ principal allegations that Said, Ahadi and Sahiyal are ASG terrorists or that respondents knew them to be such…In a nutshell, complainants’ allegations are devoid of evidence. Without evidence, allegations are just empty words,” the Ombudsman stated. /je
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