Probers identify more perpetrators in Mamasapano clash
A special team of investigators from the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and the National Prosecution Service (NPS) has recommended that 102 individuals be made to undergo preliminary investigation for the complex crime of direct assault with murder and theft for the killing of 44 police commandos in what is now infamously known as the Mamasapano massacre last January 25.
The recommendation, contained in a transmittal letter dated July 13, was sent by the joint investigating panel to Prosecutor-General Claro Arellano.
Among those recommended to be charged were three commanders of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and two from the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF).
The rest were identified as members of either the MILF or the BIFF while several were just marked as “John Does” or still unidentified individuals.
“The joint NBI-NPS special investigation team … is pleased to refer to your office for the conduct of preliminary investigation the results of its fact-finding investigation into the Mamasapano incident, wherein [SAF troops] were found to be victims of the complex crime of direct assault with murder … perpetrated by the confederating members of the MILF, BFF and private armed groups,” the investigating team’s transmittal letter read.
The Mamasapano incident involved a “law enforcement” mission code-named Oplan (Operation Plan): Exodus launched by the Philippine National Police (PNP) against suspected international terrorist Zulkifli Abdhir alias Marwan and his Filipino cohort, Abdul Basit Usman, which took place on Sunday, January 25 at Barangay Tukanalipao in Mamasapano, Maguindanao.
The mission, however, resulted in the death of over 60 people, including 44 officers and enlisted personnel of the PNP Special Action Force. Marwan was also killed in the incident.
The high number of police casualties and subsequent discovery of the alleged involvement of then-suspended PNP Director-General Alan Purisima in the planning of the mission drew a firestorm of protest that dragged President Benigno Aquino 3rd’s popularity rating to an all-time low.
The incident also endangered legislation of a draft law that was to flesh out a peace agreement between the Philippine government and the MILF.
The Justice department announced last April the completion of the first part of the joint NBI-NPS panel’s investigation and said 90 MILF and BIFF members would be charged with murder and theft. No names were given, howeve.
A witness, identified as “Marathon” and who is now under state protection, reportedly provided the identity of the alleged perpetrators in the second part of the panel report.
The NBI-NPS panel is expected to release this month the second part of its investigation. The panel was originally given a June deadline, but Justice Secretary Leila de Lima granted them a one-month extension.
Among those the panel named were: Mer Amilil, operations commander, BIFF; Muslimin Gumanding Amilil, BIFF battalion commander; Ben Tikaw, MILF battalion commander; and MILF commanders Makku Tikaw and Salik Kikuk.
Also named were BIFF members Hud Lamban Abdullah alias Hud Amilil, Zaharis Kusain Amilil, Mahmod Pidtub Amilil and Noel Sinsuat Ganoy and MILF members Marop Kudos Omar alias Marup, Badrudin Minidal Abdullah, Suweb Inday Balabagan, Suari Anok Bhal, Sabi Samama Dalimbang, Musib Kamot Hasim, Randy Kindi Abdulrahman and Esmail Mamalangkas Kilay.
The panel said the suspects also committed theft for allegedly taking personal belongings of the slain policemen.
“The above-named respondents committed theft of government as well as personal property of the victims immediately after killing the victims in Barangay Tukanalipao, Mamasapano, Maguindanao,” its report read.