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DOJ fails to meet deadline to resolve criminal raps vs suspects in Mamasapano.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) has failed to meet its self-imposed deadline to resolve the criminal charges against 90 alleged commanders and members of Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) and private armed groups (PAGs) involved in the death of Special Action Force (SAF) commandos during the Mamasapano, Maguindanao clash in January 2015.

Last Jan. 28, acting Justice Secretary Emmanuel Caparas said the resolution on the complex crime of direct assault with murder complaint that the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) filed against 90 MILFs, BIFFs and PAGs over the killing of 35 SAF operatives during the encounter would be in three to four weeks.

Please expect us to have a resolution on that matter-give us about 3 to 4 weeks to be able to do that. Napakadami kasi ng ebidensya na tinitingnan ngayon (We are looking into a lot of evidence) and when we proceed with whatever action we decide to later on, it has to be supported very well by evidence, he said last January.

On Friday, Caparas assured that the resolution would be released next week. No reason was offered for the delay.

The preliminary investigation conducted by the DOJ panel was terminated last Jan. 14 with only four out of 90 respondents answering the complaint leveled against them.

Among those who submitted their counter-affidavits are alleged MILF field commander Pendatun Utek Makakua, who said he was a mere farmer; Mustapha Tatak, a barangay (village) chairman in Sapakan, Mamasapano; and civilians Lakiman Dawaling and Khalim Keda. Both Dawaling and Keda denied allegations that they are MILF field commanders.

The said complaint involves the death of 35 SAF commandos following a clash with combined forces from the MILF, BIFF and PAGs in Barangay Tukanalipao, Mamasapano, Maguindanao. Nine other SAF troopers died, also in Mamasapano on the same day, however, they were part of the group that raided Malaysian terrorist Zulkifli bin Hir alias Marwan's hut in Barangay Pidsandawan.

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Publication:Philippines Daily Inquirer (Makati City, Philippines)
Date:Mar 4, 2016
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