Widow seeks review of Batasan Pambansa blast

by Ina Reformina, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 14 2011 08:36 PM | Updated as of Sep 15 2011 05:21 AM

MANILA, Philippines – One of the widows of former Basilan Representative Wahab Akbar has filed a petition for review with the Department of Justice (DOJ) to seek the inclusion of former Anak Mindanao party-list representative Mujiv Hataman in the multiple murder and multiple frustrated murder case against 8 individuals in connection with the 2007 Batasan Pambansa bomb blast that killed Rep. Akbar and several others and seriously injured several individuals.

In a 17-page petition for review filed today, Basilan Governor Jum Akbar and co-complainant-appellant Nor-Rhama Indanan asked the DOJ to set aside the case investigating panel's resolution dated February 22, 2008 and April 2008 that absolved Hataman and co-respondents Hadjiman Hataman Salliman and Julham Kunam and issue a new resolution finding probable cause against them.

"[T]he honorable investigating panel gravely erred in dismissing the charge against respondents-appellees (Hataman, et al.)... respondents-appellees were plainly in conspiracy with the other respondents who were charged in court for the brutal death of several persons in the Batasan explosion," the petition read.

Former Congressman Gerry Salapuddin, Ikram Indama, Caidar Aunal, Adham Kusain, Hajarun Jamiri, Police officer (PO) 1 Bayan Judda, Julhan Kunam, and Benjamin Hataman were charged in a Quezon City trial court for the deaths of Rep. Akbar and 4 others.

Salapuddin was later dropped from the charge sheet by virtue of a motion of withdrawal filed by DOJ prosecutors.

In their petition with the DOJ, Akbar and Indanan pointed out that the evidence ignored by the investigating panel in absolving Hataman, et al. "were the same evidence" used by the panel in indicting the rest of the respondents.

"[T]he honorable investigating panel did not state any other reason, factual or legal, that could form a basis for the dismissal of the charges against Mujiv Hataman and Hadjiman Hataman Salliman," the petition pointed out.

Hataman is among 50 applicants vying for Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) regional governor officer-in-charge (OIC) being screened by the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) following the enactment of Republic Act (RA) No. 101053 which synchronizes the ARMM polls with the national elections beginning 2013.

The appointment of regional OIC's has been, however, halted by the Supreme Court (SC) which issued a temporary restraining order (TRO) on the law Tuesday.

Akbar and Indanan further allege that Hataman and Hataman-Salliman were "expressly named" by at least 3 witnesses as having taken part in the planning stage to assassinate Rep. Akbar.

"With the present petition, the honorable office is given the opportunity to rectify the glaring and conspicuous blunder of recommending the dismissal of charges against the same persons whom the honorable investigating panel have found to be mastermind of the successful murder plot against Congressman Wahab Akbar," the petition read.

The November 13, 2007 Batasan blast was investigated by the Philippine National Police's (PNP) Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG)-National Capital Region (NCR) which concluded that the incident was an "assassination plot" against Rep. Akbar undertaken by a number of persons.

The legislative session had just ended then and lawmakers were leaving the building when the blast occurred at 8:15 p.m. at the south wing of the House of Representatives' main building.

The investigation showed the explosive device was planted in a nearby motorcycle.