From the Philippine Daily Inquirer (Dec 3): 8 of 20 suspected Sayyaf members positively identified by witnesses
Eight out 20 suspected Abu Sayyaf Group members have been positively identified
by two of their captives during the reinvestigation conducted Monday at the
Department of Justice. Identified were Jumlie Orie, Jul Ahmad Ahadi Julman, Arabi Muin Ladja, Sonny
Boy Barahim, Abdulwahab Hamja, Mujibar Alih Aman, Julhasan Jaani and Absar
Mangkabang Asim. The two who turned government witnesses were among the six Jehovah’s
Witnesses abducted in Patikul, Sulu, on Aug. 20, 2002 by the group of Radulan
Sahiron. The husband of one of the captives who turned witness was later
beheaded along with Lemuel Bantolo.
The government, through the DOJ moved for a reinvestigation of the case
following claims of some of the accused that they had been arbitrarily arrested.
The government’s request was granted by Judge Torinio Ilao Jr. of the Pasig City
Regional Trial Court Branch 266. “This is an unusual move for the DOJ but we did it in the interest of
justice…There are some people arrested for not committing anything,” Senior
Assistant State Prosecutor Peter Ong, Vice-Chair of the DOJ Anti-Terrorism Task
Force, said during Monday’s reinvestigation.
Authorities have arrested three persons, one of them, Ahmadsali A. Badron,
40, who is a member of the Reconciliation and Unification of the Autonomous
Region in Muslim Mindanao and a former Commissioner of the Department of
Education. The witnesses failed to identify Badron. Badron was arrested last July 28,
2012. In the case of accused Kumander Black Tungkang, two people were arrested, the
DOJ panel of investigators said. A reward money of P3.3 million was being
claimed for the arrest of one of the two.
The panel asked each of the 8 suspects to give their side. Aman, whom the
victim said was allegedly in charge of Abu Sayyaf’s budget and told to pick one
of the captives for him to marry, denied the allegations. Jaani, on the other hand, whom the victim said as one of those who beheaded
her husband, maintained that he has nothing to do with the abduction. “It’s not true. I’m an assistant Imam and (former Western Mindanao Command
chief) General (Benjamin) Dolorfino can vouch for that,” Jaani said. One of the eight suspects also said he was just a student when the incident
took place and one of his witnesses was then Governor Wahab Akbar.
Ong said they will expedite the issuance of the resolution to release those
who are wrongfully arrested. “Some of the explanations are really satisfactory for me. We will issue a
resolution as soon as possible [but] this is subject to the approval because
this case is already in court,” Ong said. The DOJ reinvestigating panel is composed of Asst. State Prosecutors (ASP)
Mary JaneSytat, Josie Christina Dugay, Marmarie Satin-Vivas, and Benito Sales.
There are a total of 135 accused in the kidnapping case.