From the Philippine Star (Dec 3): AFP wlecomes probe on arrested Abu suspects
The military said it is willing to undergo any reinvestigation of the Department of Justice (DOJ) on the alleged arrest of suspected Abu Sayyaf members, who claimed to be “fall guys”. The DOJ called for the reinvestigation, particularly on the cases against the Abu Sayyaf members tagged in the abduction of the six members of the Jehovah’s Witnesses Church in 2002 in Patikul town, Sulu, where two of the victims were beheaded. Branch 266 Judge Toribio Ilao Jr. of the Pasig Regional Trial Court ordered the reinvestigation of the case following the request of some accused who that were presented by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).
Lt. Col. Arnulfo Marcelo Burgos, AFP public affairs chief, said they are willing to undergo a reinvestigation and will cooperate with other government agencies to look into the allegations.
“Wala naman kaming itinatago,” Burgos added, citing that all those arrested suspects were immediately turned over to the court for proper disposition. The lower court issued the order pending the trial of the suspects, who said they were picked up randomly by members of the intelligence units of the military and tagged them as Abu Sayyaf members. The suspects are currently detained at Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig City. The arresting military personnel have been summoned to appear in the hearing set Monday by the DOJ investigating panel.
Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) officer-in-charge Governor Mujiv Hataman has earlier written the president over the alleged indiscriminate arrest of his constituents in Basilan province by military intelligence and police operatives merely tagging them through aliases as members of the Abu Sayyaf. Hataman cited the arrest of Romy Sumanpil, cousin of Basilan Association of Barangay Council (ABC) chairman Manan Sumanpil last month. Another victim of arrest was the barangay captian of Lantawan, despite being a member of the Citizen Armed Forces Geographical Unit (Cafgu), working with the scout ranger in 2001 and was collared and tagged with an alias of an Abu Sayyaf. The ARMM governor suspected the rush of arrest on suspects might be due to the bounty reward offered by the government.