ZAMBOANGA CITY: Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales has dismissed all charges filed against former Sulu governor Sakur Tan by a political foe in connection with his declaration of a state of emergency in the province in 2009.
Morales signed last September 9 an order dismissing the charges filed by complainant Temogen Tulawie, alias Cocoy Tulawie, against Tan.
Tulawie filed the complaint against Tan on November 16 last year for violation of Section 3(c) Republic Act 3019–Usurpation of Authority or Official Function (Art.177, Revised Penal Code) and for violation of the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees (RA 6713).
Information on the charges stated that on March 31, 2009, Tan issued a Proclamation No. 1, declaring state of emergency in Sulu over the January 15, 2009 kidnapping by the terrorist Abu Sayyaf Group of three members of the International Committee of the Red Cross–Swiss Andreas Notter, Eugenio Vagni of Italy and Filipina Jean Lacaba–who were visiting a jail in Patikul town in Sulu, one of five provinces under the Muslim autonomous region.
The hostages were eventually freed by the Abu Sayyaf.
Tan’s declaration of the state of emergency allowed police and military to arrest suspected Abu Sayyaf members or their supporters without a warrant from the court.
The declaration was supported by Sulu’s mayors and the public.
In his allegations, Tulawie said eight people had been arrested by authorities without warrants and that he personally documented 20 more people arrested similarly.
The declaration of the state of emergency by Tan in his capacity then as governor of Sulu was eventually declared null and void by the Supreme Court.
In dismissing the cases, the Ombudsman said there was no probable cause for both cases.
When contacted for his reaction, Tan, a known philanthropist and respected political leader in Mindanao, said he appreciates the relatively speedy disposition of the charges by the Ombudsman, strengthening further his confidence in the Philippine justice system.