MANILA – A Quezon City court convicted Wednesday an alleged Maute terrorist for illegal possession of an explosive device.
Quezon City Regional Trial Court Branch 92 sentenced Unday Macadato alias Solaiman Omar to reclusion perpetua or 40 years imprisonment after he was found guilty of illegally possessing a hand grenade.
Unday was arrested without a warrant in Cubao on May 7, 2018 after locals reported he was boasting about his connection to the Maute terror group.
Aside from a hand grenade, authorities said they also recovered a short firearm and a black flag with an ISIS logo, which Unday claimed were planted. He also claimed his arrest was illegal.
But Judge Eleuterio Bathan found sufficient evidence to support his conviction, relying on the testimony of the arresting police officers that they confiscated the grenade from Unday himself without any license or permit to possess the grenade.
The prosecution, he said, also proved a third element of the crime – that the grenade is serviceable and capable of producing a destructive effect or causing injury or death to any person.
Bathan dismissed Unday’s denial of his identity and his claim that the pieces of evidence were planted.
“He failed to disprove with concrete evidence the existence of the subject hand grenade in his possession or control. In fact, he failed to substantiate his defense of planted evidence, in spite of accused Unday’s testimony claiming that there was a CCTV camera there in F. Manalo in Cubao where he was arrested. There was no evidence presented to support his negative assertion,” the judge said.
He also junked his defense of illegal warrantless arrest, saying Unday was arrested after police authorities saw him in the act of loading his pistol.
“[T]he warrantless search that led and resulted in the discovery of the Grenade Hand Frag M26AI (Exhibit F-1) and the black flag/handkerchief with ISIS logo (Exhibit L) was merely incidental to a lawful warrantless arrest,” he said.
Although Unday was not charged with terrorism, the judge discussed his connection to the terror group and took notice that he was one of the personalities listed in Martial Law Instruction No. 1 dated September 2017, supposedly involved in rebellion.
Two Maute other terrorists have so far been convicted. A Taguig court sentenced Nur Supian of terrorism under RA 9732 or the Human Security Act in November 2018 while Junaid Macauyog Awad was found guilty of rebellion under the Revised Penal Code and violation of RA 9851 in March this year.