DOJ begins probe on rebellion raps vs. Maute leader's wife

By Christopher Lloyd Caliwan

January 31, 2018, 10:01 pm

MANILA -- The Department of Justice (DOJ) on Wednesday started the preliminary investigation on the criminal complaint filed by Philippine National Police (PNP) and Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) against the wife of one of the slain leaders of the Maute terror group.

Najiya Dilangalen Karon-Maute was arrested on Jan. 23, 2018 in Cotabato City, and was facing a rebellion complaint filed by Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines-The Judge Advocate General (AFP-TJAG).

The complaint was based on the testimony of a certain Martino Elyana who was abducted in Padian, Marawi City.

Elyana said he saw Najiya and her husband Mohammadhayan "Otto" Maute bringing food to members of the group at the Bato Mosque in June 2017.

Elyana said he managed to escaped the Maute lair in July 2017.

Najiya Maute was ordered to submit her counter-affidavit on Feb. 14, 2018.

The DOJ Task Force Marawi chaired by Senior Assistant State Prosecutor Peter L. Ong said that aside from the statement of Elyana, the military and the police failed to present additional evidence to support the allegation.

"However, aside from the statement of Martino Elyana as to the acts committed by the respondent at the time he was held captive, complainants did not present any other evidence against the respondent," the DOJ inquest resolution stated.

The DOJ added that the allegations against Najiya was committed seven months prior to her arrest, thus rendering this case not proper for inquest but for regular preliminary investigation.

"Besides, at the time respondent was arrested on Jan. 23, 2018, there is no evidence or even allegation that she was committing, about to commit, or has just committed an offense," the DOJ added.

The DOJ also noted that Elyana, while he affirmed what had happened when he was abducted, he changed the date of his abduction during clarificatory questioning by the DOJ prosecutors.

Najiya was subject of an arrest order issued by the Department of National Defense, the agency in charge of implementing martial law in Mindanao. (PNA)