THE Department of Justice has scheduled the first preliminary investigation on Wednesday into the criminal charges lodged against the three members of the Maute Terrorist Group, who allegedly took part in the Davao City blast last Sept. 2.
The three suspects were identified as TJ Tagadaya Macabalang, Wendel Apostol Facturan, and Musali Mustapha, members of the Maute Group who are now facing charges for violation of Republic Act 9516 for illegal possession of explosives, firearms and ammunition.
The suspects had been directed to file their counter-affidavits also on Wednesday at 2 p.m.
Senior Assistant State Prosecutor Peter Ong headed the DoJ panel which included two other state prosecutors — Susan Azarcon and Ferdinand Fernandez.
After the hearings, the prosecutors will have to decide whether to press charges against the three Maute members in court over the bombing at a night market that left 15 people dead and injured 70 others.
All the three suspects were taken to the DoJ last Friday to undergo inquest proceeding.
The three were arrested on board a motorcycle with no license plate at a mobile checkpoint by joint elements of the Philippine Army and the Philippine National Police last Oct. 4 in Cotabato City.
Confiscated from the suspects were various components for improvised explosive devices, a sub-machine gun, a .45 caliber pistol, their motorcycle, and various cellular phones.
Initial investigations showed that Macabalang detonated the bomb that was positioned by Facturan.
Mustapha, meanwhile, took a video of the incident on his cellular phone.
The video, along with the other photos of the incident that were recovered from cellular phones, were supposed to be used for propaganda.