Court of Appeals Upholds Murder Conviction of Seven Suspected Members of Abu Sayyaf Group

In a recent development, the Court of Appeals has upheld the murder conviction of seven alleged members of the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) for the killing of an individual in Palawan. The appellate court affirmed the conviction of Omar Jakarin Ibno, Hiya Arabain Hapipuddin, Muadzi Aisal Jala, Najer Daud, Omar Panagas, Jemar Malpa, and Ibrahim Misuari in the murder of Jemar Bairulla, who was identified as a military asset. The CA sentenced them to reclusion perpetua, or 40 years imprisonment without the possibility of parole.

As part of the conviction, the seven individuals were also ordered to pay civil indemnity, moral damages, and exemplary damages, totaling P300,000. The monetary awards are subject to interest at a rate of six percent per annum until fully paid.

This decision by the Court of Appeals upholds the ruling of the Taguig Regional Trial Court back in 2019, which also sentenced the accused to reclusion perpetua. The case dates back to 2007 when the accused allegedly assaulted and shot Bairulla to death after discovering his status as a military asset. Despite the denials from the accused and challenges to the credibility of a key witness, the CA found the witness to be credible and affirmed the RTC decision.

The appellate court also noted that the investigating officers followed due process in informing the accused of their rights during the investigation. The court stated that the accused failed to prove they were coerced into making their confessions. This decision marks a significant legal victory in the pursuit of justice for the victim and his family.

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