Mugshot of Abu Sayyaf leader Abduljihad “Edang” Susukan. (Photo courtesy of Davao City Police Office)
MANILA – The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) will let the courts decide if Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) chairman Nur Misuari is accountable for allegedly harboring Abu Sayyaf sub-commander Abduljihad “Edang” Susukan.
“It will be for the court(s) to appreciate whether that would be tantamount to an offense for coddling Susukan, so we cannot (comment) on that, it’s a matter that is legal and for the courts to appreciate,” AFP spokesperson Marine Major Gen. Edgard Arevalo told reporters on Monday.
For his part, PNP chief Gen. Archie Gamboa said only the courts can determine whether Susukan voluntarily surrendered or was arrested by the Davao City Police at Misuari’s residence in Barangay Ma-a, Davao City last August 13.
“As to the appreciation of how he was arrested, did he voluntarily surrender, we will lay down the facts to the courts involved. You know, when it comes to like that, it is upon the appreciation of the court. Only the court can determine whether it’s voluntary surrender, arrest or capture prevailing the circumstances that prevail during the incident,” Gamboa said in a virtual press briefing on Monday.
He said the Department of Justice (DOJ) could also look into it.
“On the part of the PNP, we just cause the arrest. As to the possible accountability of Misuari, it will be upon the courts to appreciate whether there is such a thing or none,” Gamboa said.
On Friday night, Susukan, his wife Nafrisa, and security escorts arrived from Davao City at the Clark International Airport, Angeles, Pampanga.
On the issue of amnesty for Susukan, Gamboa said it is a legal matter that should be handled by the proper branches of government.
“On the amnesty, it is not within the PNP powers to grant the same I think purely vested on the executive or I think on legislation through the legislative branch,” Gamboa said.
He said the amnesty for the ASG leader is under the discretion of President Rodrigo Duterte with the concurrence of the legislative branch of the government.
“Let’s respect their autonomy in granting amnesty if ever granted. Amnesty is not within the PNP’s power to do so let those bodies who are authorized to implement and do it,” Gamboa said.
Gamboa said the PNP is now preparing a report to Hon. Abdulmoin M. Pakam, presiding judge of Regional Trial Court Branch 5 of Bongao, Tawi-Tawi, on the implementation of the warrant of arrest issued by the court against the 34-year-old Susukan with known address at Bandang Talipao, Jolo, Sulu.
“Together with the AFP, we will seek the disposition of the Court to transfer the venue of detention of the accused from PNP to the AFP. With Susukan in custody, we can now serve all other outstanding warrants of arrest issued against him as soon as we obtain copies of the orders of arrest,” he said.
Susukan was transferred on Saturday to the headquarters of the PNP in Camp Crame, Quezon City, and underwent standard documentation procedures and reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test for coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).
“The RT-PCR test administered to Susukan upon his confinement at the PNP Custodial Center has no result yet. Nonetheless, PNP medical personnel will continue to monitor his health condition,” Gamboa said.
Susukan has standing arrest warrants for 23 counts of murder, 10 counts of kidnapping and serious illegal detention, and six counts of frustrated murder.
He is also wanted in Malaysia for cross-border kidnappings on the east coast of Sabah and other criminal activities in Jolo, Sulu. (PNA)