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Palace defends Nur on Susukanâs surrender
Anduljihad Susukan
STAR/File

Palace defends Nur on Susukan’s surrender

Alexis Romero (The Philippine Star) - August 18, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — It is “highly unlikely” that Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) founding chairman Nur Misuari will be charged criminally over the arrest of suspected terrorist Anduljihad “Idang” Susukan at Misuari’s house in Davao City, Malacañang said yesterday.

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said Misuari merely arranged the surrender of Susukan, a commander of the Abu Sayyaf who has been charged with murder, kidnapping and serious illegal detention, and frustrated murder.

“What I know is he arranged for the surrender. So in terms of criminal liability, it seems highly unlikely because he arranged for Susukan’s surrender,” Roque said in a press briefing, referring to Misuari.

“Susukan was not arrested while he was being harbored by Nur Misuari. That’s not the case. It appears that he arranged for authorities to come to apprehend Susukan in his residence on that day,” Roque added.

Roque admitted his statement was based only on his understanding of the arrest, and that he did not know the actual circumstances that led to it.

Negotiations for the turnover of Susukan reportedly started after police officials learned that the suspected terrorist was in Davao City.

Susukan was reportedly seeking medical treatment in Davao.

The Abu Sayyaf commander, who is facing more than 30 arrest warrants for murder, kidnapping and serious illegal detention, and frustrated murder, was turned over to the police on Aug. 13.

Misuari is facing a rebellion case over the Zamboanga City siege that killed more than 200 people in 2013.

Up to the court

Meanwhile, the Philippine National Police (PNP) said it’s up to the court to decide whether to charge Misuari for harboring Susukan.

“These are circumstances that would be based on the appreciation of the court or maybe of the DOJ. But on the part of the PNP, we just caused the arrest,” PNP chief Gen. Archie Francisco Gamboa said in a briefing yesterday, referring to the Department of Justice.

Gamboa said the court has yet to decide whether Susukan surrendered or was arrested.

Susukan reportedly surrendered to Misuari in April and stayed at the MNLF leader’s residence for about a week after he arrived in Davao City from Sulu.

The military said Misuari should explain why Susukan was in his custody, noting the MNLF leader could face charges if proven that he coddled the Abu Sayyaf leader.

“Only the court can determine whether it’s a voluntary surrender, arrest or capture, based on the prevailing circumstances that have taken place during the incident,” Gamboa said.

In 2016, President Duterte said he rejected Misuari’s proposal to include the Abu Sayyaf in the peace talks and in granting amnesty.

Susukan is detained at the PNP Custodial Center at Camp Crame.

The Armed Forces of the Philippines wanted Susukan be placed under its custody for security reasons.

A motion has been filed to have Susukan transferred from the PNP to AFP custody. – Neil Jayson Servallos

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