Zamboanga City, August 31, 2018 — The U.S. Embassy in the Philippines, through the U.S. Department of Justice (U.S. DOJ) Office of Overseas Prosecutorial Development, Assistance, and Training (OPDAT), held a training on counterterrorism for 57 prosecutors and investigators from around Mindanao on August 28-30 in Zamboanga City.
U.S. DOJ National Security Division Prosecutor Lolita Lukose traveled from Washington, D.C. to provide specialized training on investigating and prosecuting cases related to foreign terrorist fighters and terrorist financing. U.S. DOJ Computer Crimes and Intellectual Property Digital Analyst Michael Mazzone, also visiting from Washington, D.C., explained how to develop and use digital evidence in terrorism cases. U.S. Embassy Resident Legal Advisor David Bragdon discussed the effective use of digital evidence in court.
Philippine experts from the Regional Trial Court, the Regional Prosecutor’s Office, the Philippine National Police, and the Anti-Money Laundering Council discussed Philippine law, investigative techniques, terrorist threats, and crime scene response in relation to terrorism cases. Retired Zamboanga Regional Prosecutor Peter Medalle taught best practices in prosecuting terrorism cases. On the final day of training, participants completed a practical exercise in which they directed an investigation and prosecution in a counterterrorism scenario.
“This is the very first counterterrorism workshop conducted in Zamboanga City,” explained Officer-in-Charge Regional Prosecutor Dennis Araojo. “It is important to prepare all prosecutors to handle terrorism cases.”
On September 10-14, OPDAT will conduct a series of roundtables on criminal investigative techniques, featuring an experienced U.S. prosecutor and a U.S. law enforcement agent who will travel from Raleigh, North Carolina for the events. On September 20-21, OPDAT and the Philippines Judicial Academy will hold a cybercrime workshop for judges, the first in a series of workshops to train newly-designated cyber court judges from around the country.