Sereno camp: CJ can’t be blamed for ‘delay’ in Maute cases’ transfer
The camp of Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno maintained that the supposed “delay” in the request of Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II to transfer Maute cases from Mindanao to Metro Manila could not be blamed on the top magistrate.
“While Sec. Aguirre’s request to transfer the Maute cases was pending before the Supreme Court, it was also conducting oral arguments on the petitions questioning the declaration of martial law, which it was constitutionally-mandated to resolve by July 4, 2017,” Sereno’s camp said in a statement on Tuesday.
Sereno’s camp issued this as a reply to Aguirre’s testimony before the House justice committee about the Supreme Court’s supposedly late resolution acting on the Justice secretary’s request.
They added that Aguirre’s request needed to be coordinated among the Supreme Court, the police, military and the Department of Justice (DOJ) in terms of security and logistics issues.
“The transfer of venue of the Maute cases had serious national security implications, including substantial adverse effects on the economy and public safety (especially when the cases are transferred to the heavily-populated economic and business centers of Metro Manila),” they said.
“In view of these, any supposed ‘delay’ in the resolution by the Supreme Court of Sec. Aguirre’s request cannot be attributed to Chief Justice Sereno,” Sereno’s camp added.
The Justice secretary said he wrote five letters to Sereno—on May 29, June 13, June 14, June 19 and July 3—before the SC issued the resolution on July 18. Complainant Lorenzo Gadon said the delay in the resolution was a culpable violation of the Constitution.
Aguirre requested that the special court be assigned in either Luzon or Visayas after prosecutors, court officials, and personnel expressed fears for their safety.
The high court, however, designated Cagayan De Oro courts to handle the Maute cases to which, Aguirre said, is still near Marawi City and Lanao del Sur where Maute members were believed to be hiding.
Sereno’s camp also provided the media a timeline of events:
- “May 29, 2017 – The Supreme Court received Sec. Aguirre’s letter-request
- June 6, 2017 – Supreme Court en banc issued its resolution
- June 13, 2017 – Sec. Aguirre filed his letter asking for reconsideration
- June 27, 2017 – The Supreme Court en banc tackles letter asking for reconsideration
- July 18, 2017 – The Supreme Court releases the resolution granting Sec. Aguirre’s letter asking for reconsideration.” /je
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