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Metro

8 to testify vs LRT bomber

- Bebot Sison Jr., Cecille Suerte Felipe -
Government prosecutors will present eight witnesses to prove the guilt of Hadji Moklis alias Saifullah Yunos, the primary accused in the Rizal Day bombing of a Light Rail Transit (LRT) coach almost three years ago.

State Prosecutor Peter Ong said one of the witnesses was a mother, whose two children were hurt after a bomb exploded inside a coach near the Blumentritt station of the LRT on Dec. 30, 2000.

During yesterday’s pre-trial for multiple murder, multiple frustrated murder and multiple attempted murder charges at the sala of Manila Judge Lucia Purugganan at Regional Trial Court Branch 54, Ong said the government would also be presenting documents to prove Moklis’ participation in the bombing.

He said the witness — Anna Marie Velasquez — claimed she saw Moklis trying to squeeze his way out of the LRT coach shortly before the blast that left 19 people dead and scores wounded.

"Nakidaan pa nga raw sa kanilang mag-ina si Moklis," Ong said.

Apart from Velasquez, one Camid Cabugatan, alias Abu Ali, who sold explosives to Moklis’ group prior to the Rizal Day bombing, would also be presented in court. Other witnesses include policemen who responded to scene of the tragedy.

Since only Moklis is under police custody, the prosecution would be concentrating on his participation in the LRT bombing, one of five blasts that rocked Metro Manila on that fateful Rizal Day.

Aside from Yunos, also charged for the LRT bombing were Indonesian terrorist Fathur Rohman Al-Ghozi, Abubakar Befana Faiz, Alim Pangalian Soloiman, Isamuddin Riduan, Zainal Paks, Salman Moro, Ustad Said and Mohamad Amid, Col. Efren Torres, Sammy Arinday and Amir Dimaano.

All the accused have pending warrants of arrest issued by Purugganan.

Al-Ghozi escaped from police custody at Camp Crame last July 14, along with two Abu Sayyaf bandits Abdulmukim Edris and Omar Opik Lasal.

Although other witnesses could testify against Al-Ghozi, Ong said the government will concentrate on Moklis’ case since Al-Ghozi and the other accused have yet to be arraigned.

Apart from being charged for the LRT bombing, Al-Ghozi has been sentenced to 12 years in jail last year by the Gen. Santos City Regional Trial Court after being found guilty of illegal possession of explosives.

Faiz, on the other hand, is the alleged finacier who sent Al-Ghozi the funds needed in carrying out the attack.

Ong has a copy of bank transaction that shows Faiz sent money to Al-Ghozi from Malaysian Bank Berhad in Malaysia to a Philippine National Bank branch in Climaco, Zamboanga. Al-Ghozi withdrew the money from PNB branches in Avenida and Sta. Cruz, Manila.

During yesterday’s pre-trial Moklis told the court that he knew Al-Ghozi, Isamuddin Riduan Humbali and Faiz.

When asked by lawyers, the self-confessed bomber identified the three from mug shots shown to him. He also identified Cabugatan, who sold explosives to Hadji’s group prior to the Rizal Day bombing. Cabugatan was not included in the charges.

ABDULMUKIM EDRIS AND OMAR OPIK LASAL

ABU ALI

ABU SAYYAF

ABUBAKAR BEFANA FAIZ

AL-GHOZI

ALIM PANGALIAN SOLOIMAN

ANNA MARIE VELASQUEZ

GHOZI

MOKLIS

ONG

RIZAL DAY

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