BASILAN Governor Jum Akbar challenged former Basilan congressman Gerry Salapuddin to come out in the open and face the court if he is really innocent.

Akbar made the challenge as she said Salapuddin has sent some emissaries that include political leaders to relay his message that he has nothing to do with the November 13, 2007 Batasan bombing.

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The Batasan bombing resulted in the death of Basilan Congressman Wahab Akbar, the governor's husband, and three others. Twelve others, including two congressmen, were also injured in the incident.

Akbar said she is leaving it up to the court to decide who are guilty and not guilty in the Batasan bombing.

Quezon City Regional Trial Court Branch 83 Judge Ralph Lee issued Friday a warrant of arrest against Salapuddin.

Aside from Salapuddin, the other accused are former Tuburan, Basilan Mayor Hajarun Jamiri, Police Officer 1 (PO1) Bayan Judda, Benjamin Hataman, Adham Kusain, Ikram Indama, and Caidar Aunal.

Akbar, who urged the law enforcers to immediately effect Salapuddin's arrest, said she learned that the former congressman was in Basilan province few months ago.

However, Akbar said she has no information concerning the recent whereabouts of the former congressman. (Bong Garcia)