President Benigno Aquino 3rd on Wednesday said that his government is considering offering a bounty for the capture of Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) founding chairman Nur Misuari, allegedly the brains of the siege in Zamboanga City.
Aquino said government lawyers are studying the possibility of offering a bounty for Misuari.
“That was actually my question yesterday. Can we actually offer a reward? So, my legal counsels are studying the matter clearly para sure tayo na we are not violating any law,” he told reporters.
Aquino earlier said that charges will be filed against Misuari for ordering his followers to occupy several barangays in Zamboanga that resulted in the death of more than 100 people and the razing of hundreds of houses.
The President said that Justice Secretary Leila de Lima will be going to Zamboanga City to check up on the work of the prosecutors who interviewed the witnesses and the people who were taken hostage.
“Their statements are being collated; the evidence is being collected and at the end of the day, we hope to file a very strong case against all of these people involved,” Aquino added.
The crisis in Zamboanga City may be over the military is in the dark on the whereabouts of the alleged leader of the bloody siege—Habier Malik.
According to the President, soldiers are forming tracker teams to hunt Malik.
“We are not ready yet to make a positive statement as to his status. There are tests that are being conducted, amongst them ‘yung DNA testing, to determine precisely his status,” he said.
“But, the Secretary of National Defense yesterday emphasized that whether he is alive or not, whether he has escaped or not, the force that he managed to lead in Zamboanga City is a force that no longer exists,” he added
Aquino said the 94 captured MNLF forces will be transferred to a facility managed by the Department of Justice “to enhance the feeling of order or security” in the city. He said the MNLF rebels may also try to spring their cohorts from detention.”
Meanwhile, the President said that the government is committed to helping rebuild Zamboanga City and help residents, particularly those who lost their homes.
“It is a very significant problem. Over a hundred thousand (people) are being cared for by DSWD, amongst others. We have assured the Zamboanga City LGU, Mayor Climaco in particular, that we will not be scrounging for funds in terms of putting their lives back to order,” Aquino said.