The government will file in the “coming days or weeks” charges against Muslim rebel leader Nur Misuari in connection with the siege in Zamboanga City
Strategic Communications Secretary Carandang said all reports and evidence against Misuari were being studied by the Department of Justice (DOJ).
”Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said Misuari and his men will be charged in a matter of days or weeks,” Carandang said.
Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) fighters loyal to Misuari descended on Zamboanga City on Sept. 9 and seized scores of residents as hostages.
“What we have done (in Zamboanga), based on who we have captured and the Misuari fighters that have been [seized], has degraded the ability of Misuari to create these kinds of situations. So it’s a blow Misuari’s forces,” he said.
Carandang said there were no firefights on Sunday but the government forces were continuing clearing operations in Zamboanga.
“It’s not completely over yet,” Carandang said, citing that it will take some time for the city to normalize.
“There could still be some stragglers, but on the whole we have control of the areas in Zamboanga that they initially occupied,” he added
Government forces were in phase 2, which involves clearing
operations, after which phase 3, or reconstruction, will start, he said.
President Benigno Aquino 3rd has said about P4 billion has been allotted for Zamboanga’s reconstruction.
The city government says 18 soldiers, five policemen, 12 civilians and 166 MNLF rebels were killed in the siege.
Close to 250 rebels have been arrested and 24 have surrendered.
CATHERINE S. VALENTE