MAMASAPANO MASSACRE

Criminal raps filed vs 88 MILF, BIFF men

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The Department of Justice (DOJ) has ordered the filing of direct assault with murder charges against 88 individuals over the massacre of 44 members of the Philippine National Police Special Action Force (SAF) in Mamasapano, Maguindanao on January 25 last year.

The 88 respondents, who were identified by a star witness known only by the code name “Marathon,” are members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF); its splinter group, the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF); and private armed groups.

Of the 44 casualties, however, only the deaths of 35 members of the 55th SAF company formed part of the complaint.

The armed clash that led to the massacre took place at a cornfield in Barangay Tukanalipao in Mamasapano.


Prosecutors could not get enough evidence in connection with the deaths of nine members of the 84th SAF company in Barangay Pidsandawan because of lack of witnesses.

Investigators believed there was conspiracy among the MILF, BIFF and private armed groups to kill the SAF commandos.

“It must be noted that respondents waited for each other before going to the firing line; that the respondents arrived at the same time at the firing line [cornfield]while armed with various high-powered firearms; that the respondents deliberately started encircling and shooting the SAF victims from all directions; and that after the attack, the respondents all left together while carrying some of the equipment of the SAF victims—[these]were the overt acts of the respondents showing a common design and purpose to kill the victims in this case,” the resolution stated.

The Justice department prosecution team is composed of Senior Assistant State Prosecutors Rosanne Balauag, Rassendell Rex Gingoyon, Benito Oliver Sales 3rd and Assistant State Prosecutor Aldrin Evangelista, who prepared the resolution.

The Justice department was slated to release its findings in the final months of the Aquino administration but then acting Justice secretary Emmanuel Caparas said they had to deal with “certain sensitivities” first.

Meanwhile, the prosecutors dismissed the complaint for theft. This will have to undergo further probe at the National Bureau of Investigation.

Sixty-seven individuals, including 44 policemen, 18 Moro fighters and five civilians, were killed when the SAF commandos encountered the armed groups while they were retreating from an operation aimed at arresting two terrorists in Mamasapano, a town under MILF’s control.

The assault on the police officers came after the killing of Malaysian Zulkifli bin Hir alias Marwan, a suspect in the 2002 Bali bombings.

Marwan’s Filipino companion, Ahmad Akmad Usman alias Abdul Basit Usman, was able to escape but he was killed by MILF elements four months later.

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