Mamasapano cases up for resolution

The Department of Justice (DOJ) will resolve the direct assault with murder and theft cases filed against 84 respondents involved in the encounter with police commandos in Mamasapano, Maguindanao, last Jan. 25.

The panel of prosecutors, headed by State Prosecutor Roseanne Balauag, deemed the cases against the 84 submitted for resolution due to their failure to appear at yesterday's second preliminary investigation hearing or to reply to the summons sent by the DOJ.

Only two lawyers appeared in the hearing: Carlos Valdez Jr., representing Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) 118th Base Commander Pendatuk Utek Makakua; and Ronald Hallid Torres representing Mustapah Tatak and Lakiman Dawaling.

Makakua, Tatak and Dawaling submitted their counteraffidavits, in which they denied being involved in the clash in Barangay Tukanalipao, Mamasapano, where 35 members of the Philippine National Police Special Action Force perished.

"I am a poor man and I have no way of going to Manila due to my hard life. I'm not even a member of the MILF all my life in any place and finished only Grade 6 elementary," Makakua said in his affidavit.

Makakua submitted a certification signed by Abdulwahid Tunduk of the MILF 118th Base Command stating that Makakua is not a member and that he is a civilian and a farmer from Maguindanao's capital town, Shariff Aguak.

He also submitted a clearance issued on Dec. 8 by the Shariff Aguak municipal police station stating that he has "no derogatory record on file."

Torres, for his part, informed the DOJ panel that he was withdrawing as the counsel of another respondent, Khalim Keda.

The other respondents, through their lawyers, also asked the DOJ for a copy of the complaints against them.

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