A Sulu congressman on Thursday has denied involvement in the failed May 13 bomb attack against Sulu Gov. Abdusakur Tan.
Sulu 2nd district Rep. Munir Arbison, through his lawyer Fred Jimenez, said he has nothing to do with the bomb attack on Tan's convoy near the Sulu provincial capitol in Patikul town.
The Philippine National Police (PNP) on Wednesday filed criminal charges against Munir and five other suspects in the failed bomb attack.
The PNP said the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group-9 (CIDG-9) filed a cases of frustrated and attempted murders against Arbison, Timogen "Cocoy" Tulawie and four others identified as Muammar Askali, Sulaiman Muin, Juhan Alihuddin, a certain Abs and several other John and Peter Does.
Police said Muin and Alihuddin have executed extra-judicial confession and allegedly detailed how the bomb attack was planned and executed.
Jimenez said that he discovered that one of the supposed witnesses to the bombing alleged that Tulawie told them that "should the case be brought to the court, Arbison will be there to help them."
Arbison denied the allegation in a text message to ABS-CBN News.
“It’s not really fair. Hindi ko nga kilala ang nahuli at I have never spoken to Cocoy Tulawie personally or by cell phone . Alam mo naman, anti-Abu Sayyaf ako at tahimik ang second district ng Sulu,” said Arbison in the text message.
Tulawie also denied his alleged participation in foiled attack on the governor. In a phone interview, Tulawie said he was praying with his son when the explosion took place near the Capitol grounds.
Tulawie said Tan is merely trying to "get back at him for initiating an investigation on the alleged violations being committed by members of the Civilian Emergency Force (CEF), which Tan created when he placed Sulu under emergency rule."
Tan on Wednesday submitted his affidavit to the office of the Regional State Prosecutor in connection with the explosion.
Arbison said Tan did not mention him in the affidavit submitted to the prosecutor’s office.
“Further report that I had a role in the incident is belied by the very complaint affidavit of Gov. Tan subscribed and sworn to before 1st Assistant City Prosecutor Orillo yesterday (Wednesday) as my name was not mentioned in the said complaint-affidavit. Nor any involvement or participation by me in the incident was ever alluded to me by Gov. Tan,” said Arbison in another text message to ABS-CBN News.
Arbison also belied the PNP report that a case has been filed against him.
“The news report that a criminal complaint for frustrated and attempted murders regarding the attempt to assassinate Sulu Governor Abdusakur Tan by explosive was filed with the regional state prosecutor's office in Zamboanga City yesterday is not true. No such [case] was filed,” said Arbison in the second text message.
Arbison also said he has not even received a summons from CIDG and was surprised to read a news report that a case has already been filed.
Tan was on his way home from the provincial capitol in Patikul town when a bomb-rigged motorcycle exploded near his official vehicle.
The governor survived the attack. Pandami town Mayor Hatta Berta, who was accompanying the governor, and nine others were hurt in the bomb blast. With reports from Queenie Casimiro, ABS-CBN News Zamboanga and Ces Oreña Drilon, ABS-CBN News