AFP accepts Pasig court decision on release of 96 MNLF members from jail

Published May 29, 2018, 4:49 PM

by Francine Ciasico

By Francis Wakefield

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on Tuesday said that it submits to the decision of a Pasig City court which earlier ordered the release of 96 Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) members from jail in Taguig City.

(photo by Pixabay) Manila Bulletin
(photo by Pixabay) Manila Bulletin

The 96 MNLF members, it was recalled, took part in the Zamboanga City siege almost five years ago.

The crisis erupted on September 9, 2013 when an MNLF faction attempted to raise the flag of the self-proclaimed Bangsamoro Republik at Zamboanga City Hall, which had earlier declared its independence on August 12, 2013 in Talipao, Sulu.

“Well on our part, the AFP submits to the wise discretion of the court even as we hope that justice will be served for those who are victims of the Zamboanga siege,” said AFP spokesman Marine Col. Edgard Arevalo.

When asked if the release of the 97 on orders of the Pasig Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 158 could be considered as a setback for the military establishment, Arevalo said all he can say is that “they submit to the wise discretion of the court

“To be honest, I have not seen the document prepared in that regard. But as we were saying whether, however was it presented, or prepared, still has gone to the process. It is not for the AFP to determine the content on how the document was prepared,” he said.

Earlier, Zamboanga City Mayor Beng Climaco’s said he has ordered a thorough review of the security measures and directed the City Police and Military to closely coordinate with his office following the court’s decision to free the MNLF members.

“I am still positively hoping that justice will be served to the victims of the Zamboanga siege and the remaining 100 MNLF accused shall be held accountable for the crimes committed,” Climaco said.

“Notwithstanding of the recent order, the city shall continue to be a One Strong Zamboanga City,” he said.

Of the 96 MNLFs ordered released from jail by a Pasig City Court, 34 were flown via C130 directly to Jolo from Villamor Air Base, 45 were taken to the Naval Command in Upper Calarian and ferried to Basilan and 17 remained in Zamboanga City where they were processed and profiled at CHR9.