The Department of Justice Task Force on Anti-Terrorism secured the conviction of a member of a terrorist group, its first under Republic Act (RA) 9372 (Human Security Act of 2007).
In a two-page Decision, the Pasig City Regional Trial Court Branch 69 found Jun Guevarra (alias Manuel Ibarra, Jun Ibarra) guilty beyond reasonable doubt for Violation of RA 9372 as an accessory to the crime.
Judge Lorifel Lacap Pahimna sentenced him to suffer the penalty of imprisonment of from 10 years and one day as minimum to 10 years to six months as maximum and to pay each of his seven victims nominal damages amounting to P30,000.
In an Information filed by Senior State Prosecutor Peter Ong and Assistant State Prosecutor Gino Paolo Santiago, Guevarra and two others who remain at large, were accused of causing the explosion of an MB100 Mercedez Benz van (LDN-795) owned by Pedro Ubata, Jr. at the public terminal of Midsayap, Cotabato on May 8, 2008.
The Information alleged that the three, operating under the notorious “Al Khobar” group, committed the act to sow terror “to coerce the local government unit of Midsayap, Cotabato to give in to an unlawful demand of a monthly tax of P100,000.”
RA 9372, which was only signed into law on March 6, 2007, makes “terrorism a crime against the Filipino people, against humanity, and against the law of nations.”
The Task Force also secured the conviction of five individuals responsible for the bombing of the Awang airport in Maguindanao on February 20, 2003.
In a 40-page Decision, the Pasig City Regional Trial Court Branch 154 found Zulkifli Julkifli (alias Donis/Doni Ofracio, Ahmad Faisal); Taufiq Rifqi; Ismael De Vera (alias Pio); Feliciano Delos Reyes (alias Box) and Dinno Amor Pareja (alias Khaleel) guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of Murder with Double Attempted Murder.
Presiding Judge A.A.C. Bulauitan sentenced each of them to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua.
In another case, the Pasig City Regional Trial Court Branch 163 convicted three members of the Abu Muslim Group, the urban support group of the Abu Sayyaf Group, of the complex crime of multiple murder and attempted murder for bombing the Filmart Shopping Center in General Santos City on April 21, 2002.
Twelve persons died while 46 others were injured due to the incident.
In a 28-page Decision, Judge Leili Cruz Suarez sentenced Ahmad Jekeron (alias Jay-ar Jekeron, Abu Muslim); Ustadz Yacob Basug (alias Usman) and Danny Ofresio (alias Jul Kifli) to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua.
They were also ordered to pay jointly and severally each of the heirs of the fatalities a total of P180,000 in civil indemnity and damages and a total of P95,000 in damages to Christopher Delas Alas, the only injured victim who presented evidence during the trial.
Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said “It is the duty of the State to protect life, liberty and property from acts of terrorism. The conviction of the leaders and members of the terrorist organizations strengthens the government’s position not to give in to terrorists’ unlawful demands while ensuring the safety of the public.”
“While the government scored victory in all these three (3) prominent cases, it is appropriate to recognize the prosecutors who worked hard to hurdle the legal battle. I congratulate Ong, Santiago, Prosecution Attorney Cesar Angelo Chavez III and Assistant State Prosecutor Aristotle Reyes for a job well done,” the Secretary added.