MANILA, PHILIPPINES – 90 commanders and members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) and private armed groups who were part in the killing of Special Action Force (SAF) 44 commandos were summoned by the Department of Justice in pursuing international terrorist Zulkifli bin Hir, a.k.a. Marwan, on Jan. 25.
The DOJ panel of prosecutors filed a subpoena ordering the 90, that have not been named, to answer the charges of direct assault and theft filed by a government fact-finding team against them last month.
The preliminary investigation hearings was set by Prosecutor General Claro Arellano on Nov. 11 and 27 at 10 a.m. at the department’s executive lounge.
In a report by Edu Punay of The Phlippine Star, Arellano said the subpoenas for the MILF respondents we sent either through the MILF leadership or the Coordination Committee on the Cessation Hostilities while those for the BIFF and private armed groups were coursed through Mamasapano town Mayor Benzar Ampatuan.
The hearings will determine if there’s a probable cause to grant warrant charges of direct assault murder and theft against the accused. 13 was said from MILF commanders, while six from BIFF.
Commanders and members were accused of acting “in conspiracy with one another to attack, employ force, seriously intimidate or resist the 35 SAF commandos, who were uniformed police officers and, thus persons in authority.”
Based on the accounts of eyewitnesses, the National Bureau of Investigation agents and the fact-finding team of prosecutors were placed under the witness protection program.
The video of the encounter that became viral over social media, aids the investigation trace its sources. But the results shows the killings of SAF commandos appeared “spontaneous and not an institutional act of the MILF.”
The charges filed by the prosecutors covers the cases of 35 slain SAF who belonged to the 55th SAF Company and were slain in Barangay Tukanalipao, Mamasapano.
The fact-finding team also released a reports on the nine commandos who were part of the 84th SAF Company who were killed in Barangay Pidsandawan, the other five civilians, and the 18 MILF fighters who were killed during the clash.