Ninety individuals, including commanders of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) have been slapped with charges of direct assault with murder on Tuesday, for the bloody Jan. 25 Mamasapano encounter which left 44 commandos of the elite Special Action Force (SAF) dead.
The special investigation team of the National Bureau of Investigation-National Prosecution Service (NBI-NPS) recommended the respondents’ prosecution for the killing of the 35 members of the SAF’s 55th Special Action Company (SAC) in Barangay Tukanalipao in Mamasapano, Maguindanao.
Theft charges have also been filed against the respondents for the unlawful taking of the SAF troopers’ government-issued firearms, ammunition, communications equipment, and personal effects.
Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said the respondents include 26 members of the MILF, 12 members of the BIFF, and 52 members of private armed groups (PAGs).
De Lima added that of the 90 respondents, 19 were only identified by witnesses through their aliases – seven from the MILF, two from the BIFF, and 10 from PAGs.
Among the implicated were a commander from the BIFF and two commanders from the MILF’s 105th and 108th Base Commands.
The Justice Department also withheld the identities of the respondents, explaining that revealing their identities may impede the issuance of subpoenas.
“The moment malaman iyan, baka wala na kaming maabutan or ma-serve ng subpoena,” de Lima said.
The Justice Secretary, however, clarified that the preliminary investigation will still push through even they fail to locate and serve subpoenas to the respondents.