The Department of Justice (DOJ) has tapped five state prosecutors as members of a “special team” that will investigate the killing of 44 Special Action Force (SAF) commandos of the Philippine National Police (PNP) in a clash with Muslim secessionist rebels last week.
The DOJ is yet to release the names of the fiscals.
The commandos, now referred to as the Fallen 44, were killed during an operation to arrest international terrorist Zulkifli bin Hir aka Marwan, a Malaysian, and local terrorist Basit Usman.
Justice Secretary Leila de Lima on Thursday said the names of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) components of the “special team” will not be made public to give them as much leeway to conduct the fact-finding and evidence-gathering probe.
She added that the majority of the NBI agents will come from the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.
The team, de Lima said, actually began working last Tuesday.
She added that the NBI agents will locate possible witnesses aside from SAF members who survived the clash in Mamasapano, Maguindanao, last January 25.
President Benigno Aquino 3rd had ordered de Lima to form a fact-finding team for the filing of charges against those accountable for the carnage.
The DOJ fact-finding team will work closely with the PNP Board of Inquiry.