DAVAO CITY — The petition asking for the transfer of 14 alleged members of the Maute Group involved in a bombing here in September 2016 has not yet been decided by the Supreme Court (SC), particularly by the Office of the Court Administrator (OCA), the city prosecutor here has said.
Nestor Ledesma, during the regular City Peace and Order Council meeting on Wednesday, reiterated the need to transfer the venue of the trial of the suspects for security reasons, especially in the city.
The petition to transfer the 14 suspects, including TJ Macabalang, Wendel Apostol Facturan, Musali Mustapha, Zack Villanueva Lopez and Jericho de Rome was submitted by Ledesma last June to the office of Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre.
Secretary Aguirre submitted the petition to the high court, which asked the two local courts to comment on the petition.
Two regional trial court branches are now holding the cases against the 14 accused – the terrorism case by RTC Branch 17 and the murder cases under RTC Branch 33.
Judge Evalyn Arellano-Morales of RTC Branch 17 has ruled for the transfer of the venue to a court in Taguig City while Judge Lope Callo of RTC Branch 33 has yet to receive the comments of the two counsels handling the criminal cases.
The arraignment of the criminal cases against the accused at RTC Branch 33 is on September 1.
Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio has recommended for the transfer of the arraignment of the suspects in May because they were considered “high-risk inmates”.
The Roxas Night Market bombing in September 2016 killed 15 people and injured 69 others. ALEXANDER D. LOPEZ