President Duterte wants update on raps in relation to Mamasapano incident — Aguirre

MANILA — President Rodrigo Duterte ordered the Department of Justice (DOJ) to give an update on the status of the case in connection to the January 2015 Mamasapano clash that killed more than 60 persons, including 44 members of the elite Philippine National Police-Special Action Force (PNP-SAF), Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II said.

”Wala naman siyang (President Duterte) sinasabing for or against, basta nabanggit lamang niya na bubuksan yung Mamasapano at i-update namin yung Presidential Communications Office on the latest current status ng Mamasapano,” Aguirre told reporters in an interview.

The case is for the complex crime of direct assault with murder against 88 members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) and private armed groups (PAGs) in connection to the Jan. 25 Mamasapano incident which led to the deaths of 44 members of the SAF along with international terrorist Zulkifli bin Hir, a.k.a. Marwan.

Charged for direct assault with murder are five Commanders Abdulrahman Abdulrakman Upan, Rakman (118TH MILF), Refy Guiaman, Anife and Haumves alias Haves, operation commander of the 105th MILF Base Command and 83 others.

Aguirre said the current status of the case last December the Cotabato local court orders to submit additional evidence consisting of the birth certificates of some of the accused.

”Hindi mapro-prove yung identity ng akusado kasi almost to 100. So sinubmit na yan ng prosecution. Up to now, siguro mga one month ago, Dec. 18, hindi pa nagbababa ang court sa Cotabato kung merong probable cause for the issuance of the warrant of arrest,” Aguirre explained.

He also directed its prosecutors to move for the transfer of the trial of the case to Manila.

”Ipinagfa-file ko na early January na magfile na for transfer of venue para dito sa Manila,” he noted.

On Jan. 25, 2015, the slain police commandos were deployed to Mamasapano to capture wanted terrorists Marwan and Abdul Basit Usman.

Marwan, a Malaysian bomb maker with a bounty from the US government, was killed during the operations.

The operation resulted in the death of Marwan but also sparked a fierce encounter that claimed the lives of SAF members.