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Mindanao former lawmaker cleared in ‘07 blast case
By Manolo B. Jara March 18, 2013
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MANILA: The Supreme Court (SC) has cleared a former Mindanao congressman of involvement in the bombing of the House of Representatives that killed five people including one of his colleagues and wounded 12 others in 2007.

In its ruling, the SC said there was no evidence linking former congressman Abdulgani “Gerry” Salapuddin of Basilan province in restive Mindanao to the bombing.

One of those killed was then congressman Wahib Akbar, described as Salapuddin’s bitter political rival in Basilan, who was waiting for his car at the lobby of the House Representatives in suburban Quezon City, Metro Manila when the powerful bomb exploded in 2007.

At least 12 other people were wounded, many of them seriously including another congressman during the blast.

State prosecutors filed multiple charges against Salapuddin and several others based on the testimony of an arrested suspect who linked him to the explosion.

But on appeal, the high court rejected the filing of the cases against Salapuddin as it stressed: “The confession of the suspect does not provide the threshold picture that would justify his complicity on the conspiracy that led to the bombing.”

The tribunal added Salapuddin could not be accused of assisting in the attack in the absence of a testimony suggesting his presence when the crime was committed.

The case reached the Supreme Court when the department of justice overturned the decision of state prosecutors to indict in court Salapuddin and former Basilan party-list congressman Mujiv Hataman.
 

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