SC orders trial, detention of Maute members transferred to Taguig

MANILA-- The Supreme Court (SC) granted Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II's request for the transfer to Taguig City of the cases and detention of the Maute group members and their sympathizers charged with rebellion and other cases for staging attacks in Marawi City.

SC spokesman Theodore Te announced the directive was issued following Tuesday's regular en banc session of the magistrates.

Aguirre earlier requested to Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno that the Regional Trial Court of Taguig City be designated to hear and decide on all cases and incidents arising from the takeover of the Maute group of Marawi City.

In addition, Aguirre further requested that the SC allows the conduct of the hearing of the cases at an appropriate venue inside the premises of the Special Intensive Care Area (SICA) located inside the Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig to ensure the greater security of the Maute detainees.

The Court, in a Resolution dated June 27,2017, acted on two letters of the Secretary of Justice dated 13 and 14 June 2017, noted the same, and designated the Regional Trial Court of the National Capital Judicial Region stationed in Taguig City, instead of the Regional Trial Court of Cagayan de Oro City, to speedily act on all prosecutions and incidents arising from the violent incidents in Marawi City involving the Maute Group, Te told reporters during the press briefing held in SC.

In the resolution, Te said that the Court also designed the SICA located along Camp Bagong Diwa instead of Camp Evangelista, Patag, Cagayan de Oro City, as the temporary detention facility of any suspects, subject to its instruction to the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) to expedite the relocation of any suspects to a suitable detention facility.

Aguirre welcomes the decision of SC because of members of judiciary and national prosecution service fear their safety in the conduct of inquest, preliminary investigation and trial of the cases involving the Maute group.

That is great news for DOJ and its panels of prosecutors in CDO. It will solve a lot of problems like where the detainees are to be confined and whether we are going to rent a new place to hold the inquests and conduct preliminary investigations, Aguirre said sought fro a comment.

Last June 28, Aguirre II said that 30 prosecutors in Metro Manila will undergo training on the possible continuous trial on the cases filed against members and supporters of the terrorist group Maute in connection with the Marawi City seige.

He added that once completed, the 30 prosecutors will be divided into two panels of 15 members each headed by a senior state prosecutor.

Under the continuous trial system, postponements of hearings are prohibited unless on exceptional grounds and direct the courts to promulgate the decision to not later than 90 days from the submission of the case for decision.

Also under the set-up, the trial of cases will be held from Monday to Thursday starting at 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and then at 2 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.

The implementation of the continuous trial system is part of the initiatives set forth by Chief Justice Sereno when she assumed the top SC post to enable the speedy disposition of cases and decongest the country's courts.

Earlier, the DOJ has already indicted several arrested members and supporters of Maute - including Cayamora Maute and Ominta Romato Maute, alias Farhana, parents of the Maute brothers who led the group behind the attack in Marawi City last May 23.

Also charged with rebellion before the Cagayan De Oro RTC were former Marawi City Mayor Fajad Salic; Mohaamad Maute, alias Abu Jadid, alleged bomb maker of Maute Group; and Faridah Pangompig Romato, Aljadid Pangompig Romato and Abdulralman Dimakuta Sevad.

Rebellion is a non-bailable offense.

Over 300 individuals identified as members of the Maute group, the Abu Sayyaf group, and their sympathizers earlier ordered arrested by the government for the crime of rebellion.

Source: Philippine News Agency