Aguirre urges SC to order terrorists’ detention in Taguig
Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II on Tuesday urged the Supreme Court (SC) to order the detention of arrested Maute group members in Taguig City instead of Cagayan de Oro City.
In a two-page letter to Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, Aguirre asked the high court to reconsider its earlier resolution assigning courts in Cagayan de Oro City to try the criminal cases against the terrorists behind the Marawi City attack.
“There is clear and present danger to the security of police escorts and detainees subject of the inquest proceedings for rebellion,” the justice secretary 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.
Already, a police convoy transporting four arrested Maute members to Cagayan de Oro on June 10 was waylaid by unidentified gunmen, resulting in the death of the detainees and the wounding of three policemen, Aguirre said.
Besides, the courts in Cagayan de Oro are only temporarily occupying the City Tourism Office after the city’s Hall of Justice was razed by fire in 2015, he said.
“The modest office space of the City Tourism Hall cannot accommodate the influx of detainees to be arraigned or to undergo preliminary investigation or trial,” Aguirre said.
“Moreover, the facility is not secured enough to be a venue of a high-profile, very dangerous group of individuals,” he added.
Aguirre also asked 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.
Last week, the police brought Cayamora Maute, the father of the leaders of the Islamic State-inspired terror group, to Sica after he was arrested in Davao City.
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