MANILA – The Supreme Court has granted the request of Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre to transfer to a Taguig court the hearings of all Maute Group-related terror cases from Cagayan de Oro, owing to concerns about the Mindanao city’s vulnerable security.
Emerging from an en banc meeting Tuesday (July 18), the high court made public a Resolution it had issued on two letters of Aguirre, deciding to direct the Regional Trial Court of the National Capital Judicial Region 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.”
Aguirre earlier sent two latters, dated June 13 and 14, to the SC, urgently seeking the transfer of all hearings, as worries arose over the possibility that still at-large remnants of the Maute Group that laid siege to Marawi City on May 23, or other extremist sympathizers, might attack the CDO court and other venues.
In the Resolution, the Supreme Court also “designed the Special Intensive Care Area located along Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig City, instead of Camp Evangelista, Patag, Cagayan de Oro City, as the temporary detention facility of any suspects, subject to its instruction to the BJMP to expedite the relocation of any suspects to a suitable detention facility.”
Two days after authorities in Iligan had captured the mother of Maute brothers Abdullah and Omar, four men who were arrested along with her were killed in an ambush on a police convoy that was to escort them to Cagayan de Oro City.
Police then said they were investigating the incident and could not confirm if the ambush was done by extremist groups to prevent the men from testifying, or by vigilantes.