Sereno wants speedy trial of Maute members, sympathizers
Chief Justice Maria Sereno wanted an expeditious proceeding of cases that will be filed against the members and sympathizers of the Maute terrorist group by applying the continuous trial system, Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II told reporters Monday.
Under the system, trial is conducted from Monday to Thursday and courts must call the cases at exactly 8:30 a.m. and at 2 p.m. This is designed to cut trial duration in criminal cases from the usual three to five years to just around three months.
Aguirre said he will reorganize his legal team that will handle the cases to be composed of Metro Manila Prosecutors once the Supreme Court approves their request to transfer the trial to Taguig.
“I am going to reorganize my panels because my panels should be composed of Metro Manila prosecutors who will undergo immediate training on continuous trial,” Aguirre told reporters after his meeting with Sereno.
He added that Sereno even offered the facilities of the Philippine Judicial Academy (Philja) for the training of the prosecutors.
The Department of Justice (DOJ) earlier requested the Supreme Court (SC) to designate a special court that will handle cases filed and to be filed against the members of the Maute Group.
The SC has already issued a ruling designating courts in Cagayan De Oro City as the special Court.
However, Aguirre asked for a reconsideration to transfer the trial of Maute cases to Taguig considering Cagayan De Oro’s proximity to Marawi and Lanao Del Norte.
Aguirre reiterated his request to the high court early this week, citing the arrest of Mohammad Naoim Maute alias Almahid Pangompig Romato in Cagayan De Oro City last June 15.
Aguirre said during his meeting with the Sereno, they talked about the probability of transferring the trial to the Special Intensive Care Area (SICA) at Camp Bagong Diwa where trials are being conducted against arrested members of the Abu Sayyaf Group.
The trial against the Ampatuan members in connection with the 2009 Maguindanao massacre is also being held inside Camp Bagong Diwa.
“We hope, we could establish at least two courtrooms inside (SICA). She mentioned about two courts to be constructed inside SICA during the time of [DILG] Secretary [Mar] Roxas,” Aguirre said.
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