Congressman, 2 others accused in failed assassination
FORMER Sulu Governor Sakur Tan has filed criminal charges against three people, including a lawmaker he accused of multiple murders and multiple frustrated murders in connection with the August 2010 suicide bombing at the Zamboanga Airport that targeted the politician and his family.
Tan, accompanied by his lawyer, Wendell Sotto, submitted their complaint to Fiscal Ricardo Cabaron at the Hall of Justice in Zamboanga city last week. Named respondents in the criminal complaint were Sulu Rep. Abdulmunir Arbison, Maulana Omar and Allan Sabuddin.
Three other people also implicated in the deadly bombing – former mayors Najib Maldisa, of Sulu’s Maimbung town and Ahmad Nanoh, of Pangutaran town; and (Imam) Kasim Tarawi – were all killed in separate attacks in recent years.
Tan and his son Samier – now mayor of Maimbung town – survived the suicide bombing, but two persons had died from the blast, including the man – Reynaldo Hapilado – who brought the bomb, while dozens were wounded in the attack just outside the arrival area.
Nanoh, who had previously challenged Tan’s rule, reportedly wanted to turn witness and tell the police what knew about the bombing. It was unknown whether this was connected to him ambush, but Nanoh reportedly wanted to turn state witness and identify those behind the bombing.
Tan, a philanthropist and a respected politician, also escaped a roadside bombing in 2009, but the attack wounded him and the mayor of Pandami town Hatta Berto and 9 others who were with him on a convoy. Police said the bombing was perpetrated by Abu Sayyaf rebels and masterminded by Tan’s political foes.
In his complaint, Tan said: “I honestly and wholeheartedly believe that I was the target of this failed assassination at the Zamboanga airport since more than a year earlier, on 13 May 2009, I was likewise a subject of a separate assassination plot at Gov. Murphy A. Sangkula, Elliptical Road, near the Provincial Capitol of Sulu, which assassination I likewise luckily survived.”
“As I shall hereinafter show and prove, there is absolutely no doubt that Arbison, Omar and Sabuddin, in conspiracy with one another and the late Maldisa, Nanoh and Imam, are the men behind the bombing incident aimed at ending my life and in the process, killing 2 persons and injuring at least 23 more.”
And in March this year, another suspect in the bombing, Addung Salapuddin, alias Addong Salahuddin, surrendered to the National Bureau of Investigation headquarters in Manila.
Salapuddin, who has an arrest warrant issued by the Zamboanga City Regional Trial Court Branch 17 in connection to the suicide blast, said he surrendered to the NBI because of threats to his life.
Salapuddin, according to the NBI, executed an extrajudicial confession wherein he disclosed his knowledge surrounding the bombing. The NBI also created a special task force to conduct an in-depth investigation on Salapuddin and his alleged participation and knowledge about the suicide bombing.
Tan’s lawyer was informed that a final report was already submitted by the special task force to then NBI Director Virgilio Mendez and eventually forwarded to the Office of the Secretary of Justice by the new NBI Director Dante Gierran on July 18 this year.
Tan, in his complaint, said Salapuddin categorically stated, among others, that it was Tarawi who recruited him to do assassinate him. Salapuddin allegedly confessed that the men behind the failed assassination were Arbison, Nanoh, Maldisa, Omar and a man identified as Sabuddin, who was the driver of the vehicle that transported the explosives. The vehicle was eventually identified as allegedly owned by the Nanoh family.
There was no immediate statement from Arbison and the others who were being accused by Tan.
Former Sulu Governor Sakur Tan, assisted by his lawyer, Wendell Sotto, signs his complaint last week, October 10, 2016 against Sulu Representative Abdulmunir Arbison and 2 others before Fiscal Ricardo Cabaron in Zamboanga City in connection to the 2010 suicide bombing at the Zamboanga Airport that targeted the politician and his family.
Former Sulu Governor Sakur Tan shakes hands with Fiscal Ricardo Cabaron and later interviewed by Zamboanga media last week. (Mindanao Examiner Photo)