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Doc in New York terror plot, 53 others face raps over sawmill worker’s beheading

THE Department of Justice (DOJ) has filed criminal charges against 54 individuals, including a doctor being linked to the Maute Group for the abduction and beheading of sawmill workers two years ago in Butig, Lanao del Sur.

Dr. Russel Langi Salic and his co-accused, who are suspected members of the Maute Group, were charged before the Regional Trial Court Branch 11 in Malabang, Lanao del Sur, with four counts of kidnapping and serious illegal detention and two counts of kidnapping and serious illegal detention with murder.

The case stemmed from the abduction of sawmill workers Gabriel Permitis, Alfredo Cano-os, Adonis Mendez, Julito Janubas, Jaymart Capangpangan and Salvador Janubas on April 4, 2016, in Butig, Lanao del Sur.

Six days later, Capangpangan and Janubas were  beheaded, while the four other victims were released  with the help of their employer Hadja Anisah Gunda.

Gunda and the survivors executed an affidavit identifying their abductors, including Salic, whom they saw cleaning firearms during their detention.

The victims recalled that Salic even asked his Maute Group cohorts to serve them coffee and to guard them well so they would not be able to escape.

Salic, in his counteraffidavit, denied the allegation, saying he never set foot in Butig, Lanao del Sur.

He said on the date of the abduction, he was working as a resident physician at the Northern Mindanao Medical Center (NMMC) in Cagayan de Oro City. On April 5, 2016, he said he want to Puerto Princesa, Palawan to attend the 26th Philippine Orthopedic Association  Mid-Year Convention.

The doctor added that he returned to NMMC on April 10 as proof of his daily time record.

But the complainants maintained that they have no reason or ill motive to implicate Salic in their abduction since they do not personally know him.

In finding probable cause to indict the accused, the DOJ held that, “Criminal liability exists notwithstanding nonparticipation in every detail in the execution of the crime…. Where conspiracy has been established, it is unnecessary to pinpoint who among the accused inflicted the fatal blow…. The inaction of a respondent where he could have prevented the crime only reveal his complicity thereto.”

The DOJ resolution is signed by Senior Assistant State Prosecutor Peter Ong, recommended for approval by Officer in Charge-Senior Deputy State Prosecutor Amor L. Robles and approved by acting Prosecutor General Jorge Catalan.

It can be recalled that the US government is also seeking Salic’s extradition on allegation that he helped fund a terror plot that included attacks on Manhattan Times Square in New York and the city subway.

Salic was implicated based on the testimony of Canadian El Bahnasawy, who was arrested in New Jersey in May 2016, and pleaded guilty to terrorism charges. He described Salic as a trusted supporter of the Islamic State.

 

 

 

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