By Jeffrey G. Damicog
Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II believes that the arrest of a suspected bomb maker in Cagayan de Oro City just shows the need to transfer to the Metro Manila courts the cases against the Maute terrorist group.
Aguirre made the point following the arrest made by Mindanao security forces on Thursday of suspected bomb expert Mohammad Noaim Maute in Cagayan de Oro City which has been designated by the Supreme Court (SC) where the trial of members of the terrorist group will be conducted.
The DOJ (Department of Justice) chief said in a statement that “the arrest of Mohaamad Maute in Macasandig in Cagayan de Oro further justifies our request to the Supreme Court for the transfer of the hearing of these cases from Cagayan de Oro courts.”
“Imagine, one of the personalities involved in the Marawi takeover is already in Cagayan de Oro City! This fact justifies the collective fear of our prosecutors and everyone who will be involved in the prosecution of these cases,” he pointed out.
The Secretary had already sent two letters dated June 14 and 15 to SC Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno asking that “the Regional Trial Court (RTC) in Taguig City be designated as the court to try, and decide all cases and incidents arising from the Maute takeover of Marawi City.”
Last June 6, the SC turned down his request to create special courts for the Maute outside Mindanao and instead appointed the Cagayan de Oro City RTC “to hear, try, and decide all cases and incidents arising from the Maute Group takeover of Marawi City.”
Meanwhile, the DOJ chief lauded the arrest made by authorities on Mohammad.
“The perpetrators of the dastardly attacks on Marawi City must be brought to justice, no questions there,” he said.
“I have instructed the panel of Prosecutors to immediately conduct the inquest proceedings and to expedite their prosecution and hopefully, their conviction,” he added.
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