Aguirre appeals to SC to free AFP of burden guarding Maute in CDO » Manila Bulletin News

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By Jeffrey G. Damicog

Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II has asked the Supreme Court (SC) to free the military in Cagayan de Oro City of the burden of guarding arrested members of Maute terrorist group.

Aguirre made the appeal in his third letter to SC Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno dated June 19 as he continue to prod the high tribunal to transfer the cases of the Maute to Taguig City.

Secretary of Justice Vitalliano Aguirre. (Credits: Jansen Romero | Manila Bulletin file photo)

“We anchor our present entreaty on the imperative need to free the Armed Forces of the Philippines personnel stationed in Camp Evangelista in Cagayan de Oro City from the additional task and concern of safeguarding the apprehended Maute group members and to enable them to focus fully and primarily in their involvement in the ongoing military operations to liberate Marawi City,” his letter read.

Last June 6, the SC turned down his request to create special courts outside Mindanao to try the Maute and instead appointed the Cagayan de Oro City regional trial court (RTC) “to hear, try, and decide all cases and incidents arising from the Maute Group takeover of Marawi City.”

However, due to security concerns, the Aguirre had sent two letters dated June 14 and 15 to Sereno asking that “the Regional Trial Court (RTC) in Taguig City be designed as the court to try, and decide all cases and incidents arising from the Maute takeover of Marawi City.”

In his third letter, Aguirre suggested holding the RTC hearings inside the Special Intensive Care Area (SICA) of Camp Bagong Diwa in Tagug City which he asked to be designated as the detention facility to hold the Maute.

“In addition to the foregoing request, and to ensure the greater security of the detainees, the undersigned further request that the Honorable Supreme Court allow the conduct of the hearing of the cases referred to herein at an appropriate venue inside the premises of the SICA,” he said.

Though he sought the SC approval to have the Maute detained at the SICA, many arrested members of the Maute have already been transferred to the SICA including clan patriarch Cayamora Maute and his first wife, matriarch Ominta Romato Maute.

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