Aguirre asks SC to order detention of arrested Maute members in Taguig
Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II on Tuesday urged the Supreme Court to order the detention of arrested Maute Group members in a prison facility in Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig City, which was overran by detained Abu Sayyaf bandits in 2006.
In a two-page letter to Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, Aguirre sought a reconsideration of the high court’s resolution assigning the courts in Cagayan de Oro City to try the criminal cases filed against the terrorists behind the violent attack in Marawi City, which prompted President Rodrigo Duterte to place the entire Mindanao under martial law.
“There is clear and present danger to the security of police escorts and detainees subject of the inquest proceedings for rebellion,” Aguirre said.
“Members of the judiciary and the National Prosecution Service fear for their safety in the conduct of inquest, preliminary investigation and trial of the cases involving the Maute group,” he added.
He said it would be best to designate the courts in Taguig to hear the cases to ensure the safety of judges and state prosecutors tasked to handle them.
In addition, Aguirre sought the high court’s permission to designate the Special Intensive Care Area (SICA) inside Camp Bagong Diwa in Bicutan as the detention facility for individuals arrested in connection with the May 23 Marawi siege.
Interestingly, the prison facility was seized by a group of Abu Sayyaf terrorists during a failed jailbreak in March 2006, which led to the killing of 23 inmates, among them notorious Abu Sayyaf leader Ghalib Andang, alias Commander Robot.
Aguirre noted that a police convoy transporting four arrested Maute members to Cagayan de Oro on June 10 was waylaid by unidentified gunmen, which resulted in the death of the detainees and the wounding of three policemen.
Besides, Aguirre said the courts in Cagayan de Oro were only temporarily occupying the City Tourism Office after the city’s Hall of Justice was razed by fire in 2015.
“The modest office space of the City Tourism Hall cannot accommodate the influx of detainees to be arraigned or to undergo preliminary investigation of trial. Moreover, the facility is not secured enough to be a venue of a high-profile, very dangerous group of individuals,” he maintained.
Last week, the police brought Cayamora Matute, the father of the leaders of the Islamic State-inspired terror group, to SICA after he was arrested in Davao City. /atm
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