DOJ indicts Davao blast suspects

THE Department of Justice (DOJ) has recommended the filing of charges of illegal possession of firearms and explosives against three suspects being linked to the September 2 Davao City night market bombing.

In a resolution released Monday, the DOJ has found probable cause to file criminal charges in court against TJ Tagadaya Makabalang, Wendel Facturan and Musali Mustapha, all suspects in the September 2 bombing.

The DOJ indicted the three for violation of Republic Act (RA) 10591 or the Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunition Regulation Act and RA 9561 or the Illegal Possession of Explosives Law.

The DOJ gave weight to the complaint filed by the Philippine National Police-Criminal Investigation Detection Group (PNP-CIDG) after the arrest of the three suspects at a checkpoint in Cotabato on October 4.

Authorities seized from the suspects materials being used for making an improvised explosive device, a sub-machine gun and a cal .45 pistol.

Four cellphones were recovered from the suspects, one of these containing audio and video clips of the Davao night market bombing.

In the resolution, DOJ said that the arrest and search of respondents' vehicle is "legal and valid." This was amid the statement of the three suspects in their counter-affidavit that their arrest was illegal and that they were not apprehended in a checkpoint, contrary to the claims of the PNP-CIDG.

The DOJ also said that it has found the statement of the officials of the PNP-CIDG who were present during the seizure to be "more credible."

"As between the conflicting testimonies of the parties, regarding the surrounding circumstances of respondents' arrest, we find that of the complainants to be more credible," the resolution stated.

The decision penned by Senior Assistant State Prosecutor Peter Ong, was approved by Senior Deputy State Prosecutor Anthony Fadullon and Prosecutor General Claro Arellano.

The September 2 terrorist attack that had killed at least 15 people and had injured more than 70 prompted President Rodrigo Duterte to declare a state of national emergency on account of lawless violence. (Sunnex)
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