Pasig court releases over 90 MNLF members

enablePagination: false
maxItemsPerPage: 10
maxPaginationLinks: 10

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 29) -- A Pasig Regional Trial Court released on April 26 about 96 members of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) accused of participating in the 2013 Zamboanga City siege.

The court ruled they have served all penalties for sedition. They were fined P5000 each.

This leaves about 100 more MNLF members detained in Taguig.

In a statement on Monday, Zamboanga City Mayor Beng Climaco expressed disappointment with the court's decision. The local government was hoping for a temporary restraining order from the Supreme Court to halt the release of the accused.

"The City Government is saddened by the release of the accused MNLF members but will continue to fight for justice despite the recent order of the Regional Trial Court," said Climaco.

"I am still positively hoping that justice will be served to the victims of the Zamboanga Siege and the remaining 100 MNLF accused shall be held accountable for the crimes committed," she added.

Climaco also said she ordered a review of security measures in the city. She also directed the police and military to coordinate with her office.

However, Armed Forces of the Philippines spokesperson Col. Edgard Arevalo said they trust the decision of the court.

"The AFP submits to the wise discretion of the court even as we hope that justice will be served for those who are victims of the Zamboanga siege," he said.

When asked what he thought of the evidence against the released members, he said that he had not seen the documents.

"It is not for the AFP to determine yung content ng pagka-prepare ng document," Arevalo added.

According to the Zamboanga City Police Office, 34 out of the 96 released were flown via C-130 directly to Jolo from Villamor Air Base; 45 were taken from Edwin Andrews Air Base to the Naval Command in Upper Calarian to be ferried to Basilan; and 17 remained in Zamboanga City to be processed and profiled with the Commission of Human Rights regional office.

Of the 17, eight reunited with their families as of Monday noon and three were set to be taken to neighboring municipalities Mabuhay and Talusan in Zamboanga Sibugay.

The Zamboanga siege took place in September 2013, when members of the MNLF led by Nur Misuari attempted to hoist the flag in City Hall.

The 19-day crisis left about 100,000 displaced and 200 dead.

CNN Philippines Correspondent David Santos contributed to this report.