DOJ creates high-level panel to handle Nur trial
MANILA, Philippines - The Department of Justice (DOJ) has created a high-level panel of prosecutors to handle the trial of Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) founding chair Nur Misuari and 60 others for rebellion and war crimes charges over the Zamboanga City siege last month.
In a department order released to reporters yesterday, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima has designated Senior Deputy State Prosecutor Richard Anthony Fadullon as head of the five-member panel.
The other members are Regional Prosecutor Peter Medalle, Assistant State Prosecutors Aristotle Reyes and Niven Canlapan and Prosecution Attorney Cesar Angelo Chavez III.
Apart from creating the prosecution panel, De Lima said the DOJ has also moved for the transfer of the cases from a court in Zamboanga to the Taguig City regional trial court.
“I have a standing instruction to the handling prosecutor, through the prosecutor general, to file the appropriate manifestation and motion in RTC Zamboanga. I think they did that already to fast-track the transfer of case records to the Taguig RTC,” she told reporters.
The DOJ earlier sought the transfer of the cases to Taguig due to serious security threats in Zamboanga.
The SC approved the request in session last Thursday.
De Lima said the DOJ would also seek the transfer of detention of the 57 arrested MNLF rebels from Zamboanga to Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig.
Charges of rebellion and violations of Republic Act 9851 (Philippine Act on Crimes Against International Humanitarian Law, Genocide, and Other Crimes Against Humanity) were filed against Misuari and his men before the Zamboanga City regional trial court last Oct. 7.
Aside from Misuari, also charged were commanders Habier Malik, Assamin Hussin and Bas Arki, all still at large.
The DOJ recommended no bail for Misuari and his commanders while a bail of P200,000 was set for their followers on rebellion charges.
On the separate cases on RA 9851, no bail was recommended for all the accused.
Last Oct. 9, the RTC had issued arrest warrants against Misuari and his commanders.
More than 400 followers of Misuari stormed Zamboanga City last Sept. 9 to seize the city hall and raise the flag of an “independent Bangsamoro Republik.”
Some 190 MNLF rebels were killed after more than three weeks of fighting, while 292 other suspects were either captured or have surrendered.
Twenty-three soldiers and policemen were killed and 180 were wounded, while 12 civilians were killed.
At least 120,000 villagers fled their homes as the rebels burned houses to derail the military operations to get the MNLF fighters.
At least 2,000 public and private buildings were burned or damaged that included the local offices of the Bureau of Internal Revenue, the Hall of Justice, the Central Bank of the Philippines, and the Land Bank of the Philippines.
More than 10,000 houses made of concrete and light materials were also razed.