• Court allows bail for notorious rebel leader

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    ZAMBOANGA CITY: A Philippine court has allowed a captured rebel leader to post bail despite a string of criminal cases, including the kidnappings of an elderly Italian and Irish missioners in the southern region of Mindanao.

    Police said the court recommended a P24,000 ($558) bail for the temporary freedom of Ogis Jakaria, a notorious commander of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), which is now negotiating peace with the Aquino government.

    Jakaria is being implicated in the kidnappings of Italian priest Giancarlo Bossi in 2007 in Zamboanga Sibugay’s Payao town and Irish missionary Michael Sinnott in 2009 in Pagadian City in Zamboanga del Sur province. Both priests had been freed in exchange for huge ransoms facilitated by private negotiators.

    Bossi, who served for over three decades in the Philippines, died last year in Italy. He was 62. And Sinnot, now 81, has retired in Ireland.

    The rebel leader is also facing charges of frustrated homicide for the wounding of 5 soldiers during a clash in October 2011 in Payao.

    The 30-year old Jakaria was arrested in May this year in a joint police and military covert operation at the Mindpro Mall in Zamboanga City. Two other men were also arrested in the operation. AL JACINTO

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