Friday, July 17, 2015

De Lima: No charges yet vs Moro fighters in Mamasapano carnage

From the Philippine Daily Inquirer (Jul 16): De Lima: No charges yet vs Moro fighters in Mamasapano carnage

The government has not yet ordered the filing of criminal charges against Moro fighters suspected of killing police commandos during an encounter in Mamasapano, Maguindanao, last January 25,  Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said on Thursday.

De Lima said the special team from National Bureau of Investigation and the National Prosecution Service tasked to prepare the cases have not recommended any fighter from the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters and private armed groups for preliminary investigation.

In an interview with reporters, the apparently vexed Secretary said that the list of respondents contained in draft report prepared by the NBI, which was obtained by the mediamen came from a draft that should not have been leaked by officials.

“The team has not yet issued [the transmittal letter recommending charges]. I asked and I was told it’s a draft. A draft is a draft, it cannot be published [by the media] because if it is a draft it’s not yet official, so if it it’s not yet official, why mislead or confuse the public?” she said.

“We should just wait for the release of [the document]. Our internal processes should be respected. We tell you when we release a resolution or a report so don’t preempt us,”De Lima added.

The Secretary said she has ordered an investigation on how the draft was leaked. She also admitted being “stressed” by the leakage.

“We will find out where the draft report came from, if the draft transmittal letter was leaked or whatever it is. That’s unauthorized,” she said.

Last April, investigators earlier recommend a complex case of direct assault with murder and theft of government property against about 90 suspects, whose names were not mentioned, tagged responsible for the deaths of 35 of the police commandos.

De Lima, however, temporarily suspended the filing of charges after asking the investigators to study the possibility on whether violations of international humanitarian law were committed by the suspects.

The list of 102 suspects to be charged, according to the leaked NBI report, include three MILF and two BIFF commanders.

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