MANILA - The Department of Justice (DOJ) will resolve the case against 90 individuals charged for the deaths of Special Action Force (SAF) commandos in Mamasapano, Maguindanao in 3-4 weeks.
Justice Acting Secretary Emmanuel Caparas said this is enough time for the panel of prosecutors handling the direct assault with murder and theft complaint against respondents who come from the ranks of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), and private armed groups (PAGs).
Caparas, who took the post from former Justice Secretary and now Supreme Court (SC) Associate Justice Alfredo Benjamin Caguioa, said the resumption of the Senate hearing on Wednesday will not affect the pending case before the DOJ.
The panel of prosecutors, composed of Senior Asst. State Prosecutor Rosanne Balauag, and Assistant State Prosecutors Alexander Suarez, Rassendell Rex Gingoyon, Benito Oliver Sales III, and Aldrin Evangelista, terminated the preliminary investigation proceedings last January 14.
Only four out of the 90 respondents submitted their counter-affidavits; the rest snubbed the proceedings.
The complaint involves the death of 35 Special Action Force (SAF) commandos following a clash with combined forces from the MILF, Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), and private armed groups (PAGs) in Barangay Tukanalipao, Mamasapano, Maguindanao. Nine other SAF troopers died, also in Mamasapano on the same day, but they were part of the group that raided the hut of terrorist Zulkifli bin Hir aka Marwan in Barangay Pidsandawan.
The SAF commandos were on a mission to serve arrest warrants on Marwan and several other high-value targets.