THE Department of Justice (DOJ) has filed inciting to rebellion charges against the widow of a slain Islamist leader for recruiting fighters to reinforce the Maute terrorists in Marawi City.
Karen Aizha Hamidon, 36, was charged with 295 counts of inciting to rebellion under Article 138 of the Revised Penal Code in relation to Section 6 of the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 (Republic Act 10175).
She allegedly used online messaging apps and social media to recruit fighters to help the Maute group, who led a five-month siege in Marawi City in May.
The ruling was approved by Senior Deputy State Prosecutor officer in charge Amor Robles and Acting Prosecutor General Jorge Catalan Jr.
The criminal charges were filed before the Taguig City Regional Trial Court, which was assigned by the Supreme Court to try the Maute rebels.
Hamidon allegedly used messaging apps Telegram and WhatsApp, where investigators said she was “prolific in her recruitment and promotion activities for ISIS” or the Islamic State.
In her defense, Hamidon said the messages did not contain her name, and that she was an Islamic missionary who had used social media for religious purposes.
The prosecutors replied: “As to her arguments that she was not committing any crime at the time she was arrested and at the time her mobile phone was seized, and all the aforequoted social media posts do not bear her name, these arguments are evidentiary in character which are best ventilated in a full-blown trial.”
The Justice department dismissed the complaint that Hamidon committed rebellion or insurrection under Articles 134 and 135 of the Revised Penal Code, saying it was “devoid of merit, misplaced and totally erroneous.”
Hamidon said she was a former call center agent and flight attendant who had no means to take arms against the government.
She claimed her marriage to slain Ansarul Khalifa Philippines leader Mohammad Jaafar Maguid “made her life to be of special interest to arresting persons.”
She also said she was only “instigated” by an undercover agent to commit crime.
Hamidon was arrested on October 11 at her residence in Taguig City and was placed in detention at the National Bureau of Investigation headquarters in Manila.