MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Justice (DOJ) on Friday, March 15, will file charges against 38 alleged supporters of the Sultanate of Sulu who planned to go to Sabah amid a bloody standoff.
In a text message to Rappler, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said the DOJ will sue them for violating the election gun ban and Article 118 of the Revised Penal Code, which prohibits inciting to war or giving motives for reprisals.
De Lima said the DOJ will file the charges before the Bongao, Tawi-Tawi Regional Trial Court.
Sulu Sultanate spokesman Abraham Idjirani on Friday confirmed 22 of the 38 arrested in Tawi-Tawi belong to their Royal Security Force.
The Philippine Navy on Wednesday, March 13, intercepted a group of at least 35 alleged followers of the Sultanate of Sulu in Tawi-Tawi.
Navy spokesman Lt Cmd Gregory Fabic said the group was likely on its way to Sabah. The Navy seized “numerous firearms and ammunition” from the group.
Earlier, the DOJ teamed up with the Department of the Interior and Local Government to explore possible cases against Sulu Sultan Jamalul Kiram III, leader of the standoff in Sabah, and his followers.
Article 118 of the Revised Penal Code, for one, “as territorial application even if it’s not committed within the Philippine territory,” De Lima said. – with reports from Paterno Esmaquel II/Rappler.com