Rebellion and other charges filed against Misuari, Malik and other commanders and members of the MNLF

09 October 2013

A Panel of Prosecutors from the Office of the City Prosecutor of   Zamboanga filed three (3) Informations charging Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) founder NURULAJI P. MISUARI, a.k.a. Nur Misuari, and three (3) other individuals who are still at large, including MNLF Commander USTADZ HABIER MALIK, in connection with the Zamboanga City siege last September 2013.

Misuari, and sixty (60) others, who are alleged to be responsible for the attack (allegedly led by Malik, BAS ARKI, ASSAMIN HUSSIN and several other commanders of the MNLF), which lasted about three weeks and resulted in several casualties and extensive damage within the said City, particularly in barangays Mariki, Rio Hondo, Sta. Barbara, Sta. Catalina, Kasanyagan, Talon-Talon and Mampang, among others, were specifically charged with: (a) Rebellion (penalized under Article 134 of the Revised Penal Code); (b) violation of Section 4(b), subsections (1) and (3), in relation to Section 7, second paragraph of Republic Act No. 9851 (otherwise known as "The Philippine Act on Crimes Against International Humanitarian Law, Genocide, and Other Crimes Against Humanity"); and (c) violation of Section 4(c), subsections (1), (7) and (20), in relation to Section 7, second paragraph of the same law.

The charge of Rebellion arises from their acts, while being heavily armed with high caliber weapons, of  attempting to hoist the MNLF flag in front of the Zamboanga City Hall to signify their declaration of independence from, and for the purpose of removing from the allegiance to the Philippine government or its laws, part of its national territory, i.e., Zamboanga City, and actually rising publicly and taking up arms to attain the said purpose by attacking members of the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Armed Forces of the  Philippines (AFP), as well as innocent civilians, and by committing "acts of murder, pillage, disorder, looting, arson and destruction of private and public properties."

Another information, for violation of subsections (1) and (3) of Section 4(b) of R.A. 9851 charges them of violating provisions of four (4) Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949 by: (a) committing acts of violence against the lives and persons of the residents who did not take active part in the armed hostilities; and (b) taking non-combatant civilians as hostages, while engaged in armed combat with government forces, and which resulted in the death of more or less twelve (12) individuals, serious injuries to more or less seventy-five (75) innocent civilians, and damage and prejudice to the victims.

Finally, the third information, for violation of subsections (1), (7) and (20) of Section 4(c) of R.A. 9851 charges them of committing "serious violations of the laws and customs applicable in armed conflict, within the established framework of international law" by: (a) intentionally directing attacks against the civilian population who had taken no active part in the hostilities by forcibly opening houses and other dwelling, and attacking occupants thereof, further taking about 300 as hostages; (b) utilizing the presence of civilians to render certain points and areas immune from military operations, such as by employing them as human shields at the forefronts of the armed conflict, thereby thwarting any  offensive and counter-offensive actions from AFP-PNP forces; and (c) attacking undefended dwellings or buildings, which are not military objectives, and deliberately burning such structures, resulting in conflagration of more or less 9,732 houses and buildings, both public and private, and causing damage in an estimated amount of more than P200 Million.

As to the charge for Rebellion, no bail is recommended for the leaders, while a bail of P200,000.00 each is recommended for the accused followers. However, under the charges for violations of the aforementioned provisions of R.A. 9851, no bail is recommended for all accused.

The Informations were filed last Monday, 7 October 2013, and Warrants for the arrest of MISUARI and three (3) other individuals who are still at large, including Malik, are expected to be issued soon by the RTC-Zamboanga. The other 57 accused are now under detention at the San Ramon Prison and Penal Farm in Zamboanga City.

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