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Abu Sayyaf member convicted over Samal raid

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By Jeffrey Damicog

A member of the terrorist organization Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) has been convicted for the 2001 raid at the Island Garden City of Samal in Davao del Norte that resulted in the death of two resort personnel, the Department of Justice (DOJ) said Monday.

HasimAlibasaRadjuli alias “Hasseim” was found guilty of murder for the death of Pearl Farm Beach Resort security guard Jimmy Culam. He was likewise found guilty of homicide for the death of resort employee Rolando Jara.

Taguig City Regional Trial Court (RTC) branch 266 Presiding Judge MarivicVitor gave weight to the testimony of state witness JulashreyAbtani, Radjuli’s fellow ASG member who was with him during the May 23, 2001 assault of the resort.

“In the instant case, the prosecution, through the testimony of eyewitness Julashrey Abtani had established beyond reasonable doubt that the persons killed were JummyCulam and Rolando Jara,” ruled the court.

Because of this, the court sentenced Radjuli to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetuafor murder and ordered to pay the heirs of Culam P75,000 as civil indemnity, P75,000 as moral damages, P75,000 as exemplary damages, and P50,000 as temperate damages.

Radjuli, meanwhile, was also sentenced to suffer imprisonment ranging from eight years and one day up to 14 years, eight months, and one day for the death of Jara. He was also directed to pay Jara’s heirs P50,000 as civil indemnity, P30,000 as moral damages, P30,000 as exemplary damages, and P25,000 as temperate damages.

The court cannot consider the death of Jara as murder since “Abtani never explained in his testimony how Rolando Jara was killed.”

The court noted the police statement that after the ASG raid, “Rolando Jara was found to be seriously injured and who died upon arrival at the hospital.”

On the other hand, the court acquitted Radjuli of piracy for forcibly taking the vessel MV Teresita 2 which the ASG used in their escape from the resort.

The court pointed out that the testimonies of Rolando Basalo and Wennie Duran, who were taken and forced to operate the vessel, were “indirect contrast to that of state witness JulashreyAbtani who said that the two were first seen at MV Teresita 2 and that they were not at all intimidated by the Abu Sayyaf Group when they were convinced to steer the MV Teresita 2 for the Group.”

In his testimony, Abtani said there were 23 members of the ASG, led by NadzmiSabdullah alias Commander Global, who raided the resort for the purpose of abducting foreigners.

But Abtani said the operation was aborted due to a snag when their vessel called a “kumpit” hit a rock and ran aground.

Abtani recounted that Culam who noticed them approached and accosted the group.

When the guard saw that they were heavily armed, he tried firing at the group.

Abtani said Commander Global ordered his men to attack the security guard.

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