Officials to verify Lanao ‘execution’

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MARAWI CITY: Authorities are verifying reports of the reported death of suspects of the rape and murder of a 14-year-old girl in Lanao del Sur. The same suspects, reports also said, robbed and torched the girl’s house.

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Lanao del Sur Police Director Senior Supt. Agustin Tello told The Manila Times on Wednesday that they are trying to reach the families of the suspects to verify the reports.

The Regional Human Rights Commission (RHRC) of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), meanwhile, strongly condemned the killing.

Commissioner Alikhan Abuat, RHRC-ARMM officer-in-charge, told The Manila Times they received information on the reported execution of four of the seven alleged suspects who were apprehended by civilians.

On August 15, they were turned over to the authorities and detained at the Marawi City Police Station, and were beaten up allegedly by the angry civilians.

Local residents including a major daily posted online that four suspects were “executed” after their release from jail.

On whether the suspects were really executed, there is no official statement from the police to substantiate such allegation.

Samira Gutoc, former assemblywoman of the ARMM Regional Legislative Assembly and a member of the Young Moro Professionals Network, said there was no evidence to show that an execution took place.

She added that if indeed there was an execution, it was not made public.

There were several posts in various social media accounts about an execution of drug addicts in the town of Bayang.

A photo posted on the Facebook account of a certain Hadji Muhammad Faiz Biston with the caption, “Justice for the victim!” showed four men who were beaten up badly.

In a video uploaded by a certain Alti Macadatar, the same men this time with faces on the table can be seen being hit by the men who surrounded them.

A Maranao leader, who requested anonymity, told The Manila Times that thousands of residents especially from the town of Bayang have flocked to Marawi City to force Mayor City Mayor Fahad “Pre” Salic to agree that a public execution be enforced right in his city.

The leader immediately called up Salic and advised him not to agree to the demand of the angry residents since the public execution will have a “collateral damage” on the passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), because many BBL critics are skeptical on the imposition of the Shari’ah (Muslim law) criminal justice system.

The suspects were identified as Jalil Sani, Salman Sambitory, Jabbar Macacua, and Elias Pimping. They were released after 36 hours.

Both Tello and Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) City Director Saheera Amate confirmed that the police released the suspects because there were no complaints filed against them.

Abuat explained that according to the rules of criminal procedure, the next step after the arrest should have been the conduct of an inquest or a preliminary investigation, if the suspect chooses, or he can file a waiver on the rule prohibiting delay in the turn over of the detainees to judicial authorities.

“However, none of these were conducted, and the detainees were released on Monday, August 17,” he said.

He added that the RHRC also calls on the police to carry out a full and impartial investigation into the whereabouts of the men who were released from police custody.

“While we offer our sincerest condolences to the family of the young girl, the RHRC would like to remind all parties that only through recognizing due process can justice be truly served,” Commissioner Abuat added.

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