Home OPINION PAO HELPS  MAN MISTAKEN AS TERRORIST LEADER BE FREED

PAO HELPS  MAN MISTAKEN AS TERRORIST LEADER BE FREED

IT’S another victory for ordinary Filipinos, according to Public Attorney’s Office  chief Persida Rueda-Acosta whose team was instrumental to the eventual release from detention of a Mindanao native after his arrest nearly five months ago at an airport in what to be a mistaken identity for a terrorist leader.

Senator Robin Padilla even personally went to PAO central office to see and thank Atty. Acosta and her team of lawyers led by PAO-Taguig District head Atty. Ariel Ruiz who assisted Said Maca-antal Mohammad, 61, a resident in Pangasinan province.

Several trial courts including two in the city and another in Dipolog, Zamboanga del Norte have separately issued orders dismissing the criminal cases filed against Mohammad.

The courts’ dismissal order was prompted by military authorities’ testimonies confirming Mohammad’s namesake with alias ‘Amah Maas’ who has been already killed in an encounter with the government troops in Sulu in 2016.

Mohammad was arrested by the National Bureau of Investigation for kidnapping with homicide before he could board an airplane bound for Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on August 10, 2023.

On one hand, Amah Maas was a co-accused of Abu Sayyaf terrorist leader Isnilon Hapilon, who was also killed by the Philippine military on October 16, 2017 in Marawi, Lanao del Sur, on several criminal cases.

After his arrest, the PAO team led by Ruiz and lawyers Claudette Claudel, Maria Perpetua Danisa Ramos, Brigette Servino and Aniceto Tiempo took charge in assisting detained Mohammad who turned out to be facing multiple criminal cases ranging from murder to kidnapping with ransom.

Mohammad was eventually released from detention in Camp Bagong Diwa, Bicutan on February 7, 2024 following the dismissal order on the remaining criminal case filed against him before a Dipolog court, PAO said.

“All the cases filed against Mr. Mohammad were all dismissed on the ground of mistaken identity with the testimony of the Armed Forces of the Philippines that the real perpetrator (Amah Maas) of the cases was already killed in an encounter,” Acosta said.

Reunited with his family, Mohammad thanked Padilla, Acosta and Ruiz’ team for their effort that resulted in his release from detention after nearly five months in jail.

 

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