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CA recalls decision on airport bombers

The Court of Appeals has recalled its April 28 decision that affirmed the conviction of two alleged terrorists held responsible for the 2003 bombing of the Awang Airport in Awang, Datu Odin Sinsuat, Maguindanao where one person was killed and several others were injured in the interest of justice.

In a resolution written by Associate Justice Marie Christine Azcarrage-Jacob, the CA said Zulfifli Julfifli and Taufiq Rifqi failed to finalize their appeal from the decision of the trial court convicting them of murder and double frustrated murder.

The CA pointed out that in processing the appeal of the two other convicts – Feliciano delos Reyes and Dinno Amor Pareja – the lawyer of Julfifli and Rifqi withdrew as counsel and that the appellate court did not act on the motion for withdrawal.

“In view thereof, we resolve in the interest of justice, that the decision rendered on April 28 shall pertain only to the appeals of accused appellants Feliciano delos Reyes and Dinno Amor Pareja, and not to the appeals of accused-appellants Julfifli and Rifqi,” the CA said.

With the ruling, the CA gave Julfifli and Rifqi five days to get a new lawyer who should manifest his or her appearance as counsel and file an appellant’s brief within 30 days.

“We are deferring the forwarding of the rollo/records in the instant case to the Supreme Court pending the completion of the proceedings therein,” the CA added.

Thus, the CA said its April 28 decision pertained only to the appeals made by Delos Reyes and Pareja.

The April 28 decision, also written by Associate Justice Azcarrage-Jacob, denied the appeals of Julfifli, Rifqi, Delos Reyes, and Pareja with a ruling that the “appellants were properly convicted of the complex crime of murder with double attempted murder and should thus be meted out a single penalty.”

In the February 20, 2003 bombing of the Awang Airport, Sgt. Nelson Corpuz was killed and several others were wounded.

Investigation showed that the explosion was caused by an improvised explosive device that was tucked in a Suzuki multicab that was parked in front of a restaurant across the entrance of the airport. (Rey G. Panaligan)