The Department of Justice on Monday opened the preliminary investigation for rebellion of some 59 alleged recruits of the terrorist Maute Group suspected to be on their way to Lanao del Sur but rounded up in Zamboanga City and Zamboanga Sibugay.
The Islamic City of Marawi, scene of the ongoing armed standoff between government forces and the Matue Group, is situated in the province of Lanao del Sur.
Those arrested are believed to be mostly from the provinces of Sulu and Basilan, composed of a large proportion of Tausug people.
Some 58 of the persons of interest in this case have submitted a counter-affidavit denying the accusation, and explained that they were deceived about prospectively joining the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) as integrees of the MNLF, or Moro National Liberation Front.
The elaborated that they believed they were on their way to Camp Jabal Nur of the MNLF.
Their recruiter was supposedly a person among them going by the monicker Nur Sufian.
Nur Sufian, who has not so far submitted a counter-affidavit, stood firm on the assertion that they were on a legitimate undertaking to become part of the integrated AFP-MNLF force.
He acknowledged that each recruit was paid PhP1,500 for the purpose, for transportation and food expenses in the journey going to the MNLF camp, and attested to the validity of the MNLF certificate regarding the processing of these persons to become AFP integrees.
He insisted that they have nothing to do with the Maute Group.