Senator de Lima, Sulu vice gov sued at Ombudsman

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/18 November) – Senator Leila de Lima and former Sulu governor and now Vice Governor Abdusakur M. Tan are facing charges at the Office of the Deputy Ombudsman for Mindanao for alleged “financing of terrorism, corruption, neglect of duty and grave misconduct to the best interest of the service.”

Three other respondents, Mehol K. Sadain, Edilwasaif T. Baddiri, and Wendel F. Sotto, were charged Friday along with the two officials by Temogen “Cocoy” Tulawie and another complainant who requested anonymity.

The two complainants said the respondents should be held liable for their involvement in the release from jail of three “high-value members” of the Abu Sayyaf in January 2014.

Tulawie, president of the human rights group Bawgbug Inc. was released last year after almost three years in detention after he was implicated in the May 13, 2009 bombing in Patikul, Sulu that injured 12 persons, including Tan.

He said the former inmates later admitted to being members of the kidnap-for-ransom group shortly after their release.

The complainants cited Section 4 of Republic Act 10168, or An Act Defining the Crime of Financing Terrorism, which states that “any person who, directly or indirectly, willfully and without lawful excuse, possesses, provides, collects or uses property or funds or makes available property funds or financial service or other related services, by any means with the unlawful and willful intention that they should be used or with knowledge that they are to be used.”

In their affidavit, they identified the former inmates as Mohammad Sali Said, Jul Ahmad Ahadi, and Robin Sahiyal.

They added that former officials of the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos Atty. Mehol K. Sadain and Edilwasif Baddiri helped secure the release, saying the former inmates were “innocent Muslims wrongfully arrested due to mistaken identity.”

Tulawie said de Lima, then the Justice secretary, even placed Said under the Witness Protection Program and provided him “funds, financial assistance, shelter, and legal services with the use of their public offices and by taking advantage of the powers, influence and connections of their respective public offices” using the resources of her office.

He alleged that the senator was close to Tan as his election lawyer, and he used such relationship to secure Said’s release.

Tulawie, now a resident of Davao City, said the September 2 bombing on the city’s night market along Roxas Avenue that killed 15 people and injured 69 others prompted him to file the charges against the officials.

He said he wanted to contribute to the city’s endeavor to fight terrorism by “exposing this and dismantling the machinery” supporting the terrorists. (Antonio L. Colina IV/MindaNews)