MANILA – The Department of Justice (DOJ) has dismissed the rebellion case filed against the 59 suspected Maute Group recruits who were arrested in Zamboanga City last July, Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre confirmed on Friday.
Aguirre said the panel of prosecutors headed by Senior Assistant State Prosecutor Peter Ong, with members Sonny Ocampo and Aris Reyes, issued a resolution dismissing the charges filed by the military against the 59 respondents.
“The DOJ will not be a part of any injustice. If in the assessment of our Panel of Prosecutors there is no basis to charge a person in court, such finding should be respected,” Aguirre said in a statement.
The justice chief said the 59 suspects have been ordered released by the panel of prosecutors after dismissing the complaint filed by the military.
“They did not find the military witness as credible,” Aguirre said.
Of the 59 suspected recruits, 32 were arrested at a checkpoint in Ipil, Zamboanga Sibugay while the remaining 27, four of them minors, were arrested along Daisy Road in Guiwan, Zamboanga City. They were all arrested last July 25.
Authorities seized from the suspects military uniforms, boots and Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) identification cards.
Last Aug. 14, the respondents submitted their counter-affidavits, saying they were recruited to join the MNLF. They said they were promised a PHP30,000 monthly salary and that they would eventually be integrated into the military.
They tagged MNLF member Nur Supian as their recruiter. (PNA)