De Lima on Mamasapano case: Serving warrant of arrest is the real challenge
Serving warrants of arrest to 88 suspects in the Mamasapano massacre will be the “real challenge” on the part of the government, Senator Leila de Lima said on Tuesday.
The former Justice Secretary expressed this concern after the Department of Justice (DOJ) recommended the filing of direct assault with murder charges against commanders and members of Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) and the private armed groups responsible for the deaths of 35 Special Action Force (SAF) troopers in Mamasapano, Maguindanao on January 25 last year.
“The real challenge is to whom the warrants of arrest should be served. If the court to which the case will be filed would confirm the existence of probable cause, the next step is for the court to issue warrants of arrest. The challenge is, how would they serve the warrants of arrest to those accused,” she said.
Five among the 88 respondents charged were commanders of BIFF and MILF. They were identified as Commanders Abdulrahman Abdulrakman Upan, Commander Rakman (118TH MILF), Commander Refy Guiaman, Commander Anife, and Commander Haumves alias Haves, operations commander of the 105th MILF Base Command.
Some of the respondents, however, were only known by their aliases. De Lima noted that the court would not be able to acquire jurisdiction over the suspects if they are not arrested. She added that it should be clarified whether the criminal charges leveled against the suspects are bailable or not. She said the next step will be the filing of the case before the proper court but she refused to comment on where the case should be filed leaving it to the discretion of the prosecutors.
De Lima, meanwhile, denied that she had been remiss in resolving the Mamasapano case saying that she was the one who started the investigation into the case. “Ako nga ang nagpa-imbestiga niyan. Ako nga ‘yung nag-constitute ng joint team na ‘yan. Ako nga nagpa-file niyan. Ako nga ‘yung nagpahanap ng mga pwedeng testigo katulad ni Marathon,” she said.
“Isang mahirap na kaso pero sinuwerte ‘yung team na makakuha ng isang eye witness kaya ‘yan ang naging basehan ng finding of probable cause. Siguro dahil sa dami ng mga respondents that explains probably the delay,” she added.