THE Justice department will start its preliminary investigation on the rebellion charges filed against the 59 suspected recruits of the Maute terrorist group who were arrested in Zamboanga City on July 25.
The department’s three-man panel handling the case said the respondents were set to submit their respective counter-affidavits on Monday afternoon.
During the proceedings on July 28, the suspects were presented before the panel of prosecutors led by Senior Assistant State Prosecutor Peter Ong after they were flown to Manila from Zamboanga del Sur by a C-130 military plane.
Among those arrested was Moro National Liberation Front member Nur Supian who was pinpointed by the suspects as their recruiter.
Of the 59, 32 were arrested at a checkpoint in Ipil, Zamboanga Sibugay, while the remaining 27, of which four were minors, were arrested along Daisy Road in Guiwan, Zamboanga City. They were all arrested on July 25.
Authorities seized from the suspects military uniforms, boots and MNLF identification cards.
Another MNLF member, Abdurahid Arasid, who was among the 32 arrested, said he was recruited by Supian to supplement the Maute forces that had been looking for recruits to beef up their men in Marawi City.
Arasid said he was told he would receive a monthly salary of P30,000 and firearms once he joined the group.
Arasid said Supian did not tell the other suspects they were being recruited to fight for Maute.
Instead, Arasid told them they were being recruited to undergo training as MNLF integrees to join the military, a statement that was echoed by the other suspects.
Supian belied Arasid’s statement and said he had the documents to show they were indeed going to undergo training.
The arrested suspects are detained at Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig City.