MANILA - A female member of the Maute clan has regained her freedom after the Department of Justice (DOJ) found insufficient evidence to indict her for rebellion.
Najiya Dilanggalen Karon Maute aka “Najiya Sultana Dilangalen Karon,” wife of Mohammad Maute, a member of the Maute local terror group who died in the battle of Marawi City, was subjected to inquest proceedings following her arrest on January 23 at Barangay Rosary Heights 3, Cotabato City.
She was arrested by virtue of an arrest order issued by the Department of National Defense dated June 5, 2017 pursuant to Proclamation No. 216, placing the entire Mindanao under martial law and suspending the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus in the southern region.
In a 7-page inquest resolution signed by Senior Assistant State Prosecutors Peter Ong and Alexander Suarez, and Assistant State Prosecutor Josie Christina Dugay, the DOJ also pointed out that the case is no longer inquestable because the alleged acts contained in the police and military’s complaint happened seven months ago.
The DOJ ordered a full-blown preliminary investigation into the rebellion charge, allowing Maute to submit a counter-affidavit and other defenses.
“Complainant PNP-CIDG claims that on the basis of the statement of Martino Elyana, respondent Najiya Maute should be indicted for rebellion for aiding the Maute-ISIS group who participated in the public uprising and took arms against the government by forcibly taking over Marawi City. On two separate occasions, respondent Najiya Maute’s aid to the armed group was in the form of giving them food. However, aside from the statement of Martino Elyana… complainants did not present any other evidence against respondent,” the resolution read.
“Said acts were committed more than seven months ago, rendering this case not proper for inquest, but for regular preliminary investigation,” it added.
The DOJ further explained that Maute’s act of bringing food and being with her husband “are not overt acts of rebellion.”
Maute’s uncle, former Maguindanao Representative Didagen Dilangalen, informed the DOJ her niece was released from detention yesterday, January 30.
The first preliminary investigation hearing on the rebellion case is set on February 14.
The Maute group’s siege on Marawi City led President Rodrigo Duterte to issue Proclamation No. 216 on May 23, and the battle for control of the Islamic City dragged for five months.