Trial of 59 Maute, MNLF terrorists gets underway
The Department of Justice (DOJ) will start its preliminary investigation on the rebellion charges filed against 59 suspected Maute terrorist group recruits who were arrested in Zamboanga City last July 25.
The DOJ’s three-man panel handling the cases against the suspects said the respondents were set to submit their respective counter-affidavits on Monday afternoon.
During the proceedings last July 28, the 59 suspects were presented before the panel of prosecutors chaired by Senior Assistant State Prosecutor Peter Ong after being flown to Manila from Zamboanga del Sur via a C-130 military plane.
The suspects signed their waiver of detention and decided that the panel of prosecutors proceed with the preliminary investigation.
Among those arrested was Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) member Nur Supian who was pinpointed by the arrested suspects as their recruiter.
Of the 59, 32 men were arrested at a checkpoint in Ipil, Zamboanga Sibugay while the remaining 27, of which four were minors, were arrested along Daisy Road in Guiwan, Zamboanga City. They were all arrested last July 25.
Authorities seized from the suspects military uniforms, boots and MNLF identification cards.
Another MNLF member Abdurahid Arasid who was among the 32 persons arrested, said he got recruited by Supian to supplement the Maute forces which have been looking for recruits to beef up its forces in Marawi City.
Arasid said he was told he will receive a monthly salary of P30,000 and firearms if he joins the group.
He said he initially refused but was advised to join to keep watch of the group’s activities.
Arasid said Supian did not tell the other suspects they were being recruited to fight for Maute.
Instead, Arasid told them they were being recruited to undergo training as MNLF integrees to be able to join the military, a statement which was echoed by the other suspects.
Supian belied Arasid’s statement, stressing that he has proper documents to show they were indeed going to undergo training.
The arrested suspects have been detained at Camp Bagong Diwa, Taguig City. (PNA)