CA recalls verdict on 2 Indonesian terrorists in airport bombing
The Court of Appeals recalled its April 28, 2016 decision affirming the Pasig City Regional Trial Court Branch 154’s decision finding two Indonesian terrorists guilty for the bombing of the Awang Airport in Barangay Awang, Datu Odin Sinsuat in Maguindanao in 2003 which killed one person and injured several others.
In a six-page resolution, the appeals court’s 16th Division through Associate Justice Marie Christine Azcarrage-Jacob said Zulkifli Julkifli alias Ahmad Faisal and Taufiq Rifqi were not given adequate time to engage a new lawyer while their appeal is pending with the appellate court.
Their lawyer, Atty. Cesar M. Solis withdrew his services on Aug. 26, 2015, while the appeal is pending before the appeals court despite the withdrawal, the appeals court issued a ruling on April 28, 2016 affirming the conviction of the two Indonesian terrorists and two Filipino militants.
The CA said that “appellants were properly convicted of the complex crime of murder with double attempted murder and should thus be meted out a single penalty.”
But in view of the enactment of Republic Act No. 9346, which prohibits the imposition of death penalty, the CA said that “the penalty for the crime should, therefore, be reduced to reclusion perpetua without eligibility for parole.”
Subsequently, a notice of appeal was filed by Filipinos Feliciano delos Reyes and Dinno Amor Pareja through their counsel on May 19, 2016.
In the course of processing the notice of appeal of Delos Reyes and Pareja, the appeals court noticed the two no longer have any counsel.
The appeals court said it appeared that no other action was taken on the said urgent motion for review and for withdrawal as counsel of Julkifli and Rifqi.
“In view thereof, we resolve in the interest of justice, that the decision rendered on April 28 shall pertain only to the appeals of accused appellants Feliciano delos Reyes and Dinno Amor Pareja, and not to the appeals of accused-appellants Zulkifli and Taufiq Rifqi,” the appeals court said.
“Zulkifli Julkifli and Taufiq Rifqi should have been given adequate time to engage the services of a new counsel who should have been directed to file an appellants’ brief within a given period of time,” the appeals court added.
The appeals court gave the two 15 days to secure the services of a new counsel and for the said counsel to enter its appearance within the same period.
The new counsel has been given 30 days to file appellant’s brief.
“We are deferring the forwarding of the rollo/records in the instant case to the Supreme Court pending the completion of the proceedings therein,” the appeals court said.
The appeals court also ordered the director of the New Bilibid Prison to explain to the two the importance of their order. The NBP director
The case stemmed from the bombing of the Awang Airport on February 20, 2003 where Sgt. Nelson Corpuz was killed while several others were injured.
Based on the investigation conducted by authorities, the explosion was caused by an improvised explosive device that was placed in a white Suzuki multicab, which was parked in a restaurant that was placed across the entrance gate of the airport. CDG
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.