MANILA- The Sandiganbayan 3rd Division has ordered law enforcement agencies to arrest Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) founding chairman Nur Misuari over corruption allegations.
The court on Wednesday released arrest warrants against Misuari as it found probable cause to try the former Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) governor as well as other ARMM officials and private individuals on 2 counts of graft and 2 counts of malversation for the allegedly anomalous purchase of educational materials in 2000.
The warrants, dated Aug. 31, 2017, were released to the Philippine National Police Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (PNP-CIDG) and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), and their local counterparts in Cotabato City, 3rd Division Clerk of Court Dennis Pulma said.
The court set bail at P200,000 to P460,000 each for malversation through falsification charges, and P30,000 each for graft.
MNLF spokesperson Rev. Absalom Cerveza said Misuari will defend himself from the charges.
"Kung anong gusto ng gobyerno na gawin nila, gawin nila. Kung ano rin ang kaya ni chairman [Misuari] na gawin para ipagtanggol ang kanyang sarili, gagawin din niya," Cerveza said.
(The government should do what it wants to do. The chairman, meanwhile, will do what he can to defend himself.)
The court has yet to determine if there is probable cause to try Misuari for 2 other cases also in connection with the allegedly anomalous educational materials purchase- one graft and one malversation through falsification charge- as it ordered the prosecution to provide additional evidence.
For all six charges, the Office of the Ombudsman alleged that Misuari and his co-accused spent P115 million for educational materials which turned out to be non-existent as they were supposedly not delivered to the intended recipients.