CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY / PHILIPPINES — Maute, ex-Marawi City mayor Fajad “Pre” Salic, and some 13 other captured Maute fighters and sympathizers have been transferred to Manila. A military source, who declined to be identified said the mother of the Maute brothers and the rest were airlifted to Manila Monday evening, July 12, after undergoing inquest proceedings inside the 4th Infantry Division headquarters at Camp Edilberto Evangelista, Cagayan de Oro City.
Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II had earlier said that the Department of Justice (DOJ) is seeking the transfer of high value inmates to a detention facility in Manila for better security. Aguirre said in a text message that all have been charged with rebellion. The DOJ also asked the Supreme Court (SC) to move the hearing of Maute cases in Metro Manila instead of going ahead with its decision to designate special courts in Cagayan de Oro to hear and try the cases.
Citing the safety of the court personnel, Aguirre urged the highest court to designate the Taguig Regional Trial Court (RTC) instead of Cagayan de Oro RTC to hear the cases. “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 of the Maute group,” Aguirre said.
Aguirre added that upon inspection of the DOJ officials in Camp Evangelista, it found that it does not have proper detention facilities to house suspects to be arrested in the course of martial law.
Meanwhile, lawyer Dale Mordeno, Salic’s legal counsel, said Salic was also charged with three counts of rebellion and drug-related crimes for alleged violations of the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act (9165).
Authorities, through a search warrant, had raided Salic’s house in a posh subdivision here where some 10 “sacks” or plastic packets containing suspected methamphetamine hydrochloride or “shabu,” guns, explosives, and ammunition were seized. Mordeno said illegal possession of firearms, ammunition, and explosives were consolidated in the rebellion charges.
The lawyer also said they are currently working on the counter affidavit on Salic’s drug case, which is now in the hand of the city prosecutor’s office. Mordeno also said the court has yet to act on the petition for a writ of habeas corpus he filed in the court questioning the detention of the former mayor.
The Maute Group matriarch and seven other women were arrested in a town in Lanao del Sur late Friday afternoon. Farhana was alleged to be helping her two sons, Abdullah and Omarkhayyam, in their operations. The Maute Group is fighting the government forces in Marawi City since May 23 when law enforcers tried to arrest Isnilon Hapilon, a known Abu Sayyaf leader.