ZAMBOANGA CITY: Criminal charges against 59 members of the MNLF implicated in this city’s siege last year, were recommended to be dismissed by the DOJ.
The so-called Zamboanga siege happened in September 2013 where more than 200 alleged MNLF members staged a rebellion here.
Justice Sec. Leila de Lima last week said the DOJ recommended the dismissal after the Pasig court handling the rebellion case ordered the prosecution to undertake a re-investigation.
De Lima said the court still has the decision to abide with the prosecution panel’s recommendation.
She clarified that MNLF chairman Nur Misuari is still among those remaining in the charge sheet.
Misuari, who faces charges of rebellion and other crimes, is at present still hunted down by police and military forces.
A violation of the Philippine Act on Crimes Against International Humanitarian Law, Genocide, and Other Crimes Against Humanity were filed last year against the MNLF chairman and more than 270 others.
Misuari’s commander, Habier Malik, also faces charges before the Zamboanga City RTC.
Malik, like Misuari, is still at large, while 57 of their companions are now being held at the San Ramon Prison and Penal Farm, here.
The Supreme Court last year approved the transfer of the first batch of cases, including the one against Misuari, from Zamboanga to Manila.
The DOJ said last year’s siege in this city resulted in several casualties and extensive damage to several villages within Zamboanga.
Misuari and his men were charged for taking up arms and attacking government security forces and civilians, including acts of violence against residents and for taking non-combatant civilians as hostages during the fighting.
Twelve people died during the siege while 75 civilians were injured as more than P200-million in damages was reported.
The DOJ said Misuari’s men broke into houses, took about 300 hostages whom they used as human shields, and the burned 9,732 houses and buildings, both public and private.