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Maute trial in Taguig jail mulled

By: Jeffrey G. Damicog

Arrested members of the Maute terrorist group could be tried inside the detention facility of the Special Intensive Care Area (SICA) of Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig City.

Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II said this possibility was discussed during his meeting yesterday morning with Supreme Court (SC) Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno.

“Maganda naman napag-usapan namin. So, in all probability, instead of moving trial at the Taguig RTC (Regional Trial Court), doon na mismo sa loob ng jail,” Aguirre told reporters after his visit to Sereno at her office at the SC.

“Para mas secure so hindi na pupunta don sa Taguig RTC. Doon na mismo sa loob ng SICA,” he added.

The secretary noted that many arrested members of Maute group have already been transferred to SICA, including clan patriarch Cayamora Maute and his first wife, Ominta Romato Maute.

Last June 6, the SC turned down Aguirre’s request to create special courts for the Maute trial 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.”

However, due to security concerns in Cagayan de Oro City, the secretary sent two letters dated June 14 and 15 to Sereno asking that “the Regional Trial Court in Taguig City be designed as the court to try, and decide all cases and incidents arising from the Maute takeover of Marawi City.”

During Monday’s meeting, Aguirre bared they discussed also the possibility of having two court rooms at the SICA and holding continuous trials.