MANILA (1st UPDATE) - Charges for illegal possession of firearms and explosives were filed against 3 suspects in the foiled Sept. 1 bombing of the Ninoy Aquino Terminal 3.
Grandeur Pepito Guerrero, Emmanuel San Pedro, and Sonny Yohanon were brought, in handcuffs, to the Department of Justice (DOJ) on Tuesday to face inquest proceedings.
Their lawyer, Oliver Lozano, manifested in the hearing that his clients intend to file counter-affidavits in their defense.
Inquest officer Asst. State Prosecutor Aristotle Reyes directed respondents to sign a waiver on their detention, and set the first preliminary hearing on Sept. 12 at 10 o'clock in the morning.
During his brief manifestation during the hearing, Lozano insisted that his clients are innocent.
He said the one who should stand to face the charges is a certain Norberto Paranga, who borrowed the vehicle from Guerrero a week prior to the Sept. 1 arrest of Guerrero and company from the NAIA-3 terminal parking area.
"Norberto Paranga borrowed the vehicle... it is apparent that the one liable is Norberto Paranga, who had control of the vehicle and apparently had knowledge of its complaints... Guerrero had no idea about its contents," Lozano said.
Respondents were nabbed because of the presence of 4 improvised incendiary devices (IIDs) and one .38 caliber pistol with live ammunition inside their Toyota Revo.
Lozano stressed that Guerrero was not even anywhere near the vehicle when he was arrested by National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) Anti-Organized and Transnational Crime Division operatives; Guerrero was arrested in Makati City.
Based on the NBI complaint, however, Guerrero, San Pedro, and Yohanon were all on board the vehicle upon its arrival at the NAIA-3 terminal parking area; Guerrero subsequently disembarked and boarded a taxi bound for Makati City.
In an interview with reporters, Lozano said his clients were mere victims, and that information had reached him of a larger plot to cause terror with the end-goal of securing a second term for Pres. Aquino.
"The information said Cong. Erice is behind it... I do not believe it... but from here I will go to Congress to confront Cong. Erice," Lozano said.
Respondents maintained silence during the entire proceedings, but San Pedro was emotional and shed tears.
Respondents will remain at the NBI detention facility in Taft Ave., Manila during the course of the preliminary investigation.