By Jeffrey Damicog
Department of Justice (DOJ) Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II has assigned one of his top officials to oversee the prosecution of members of the terrorist group Maute in Mindanao.
“Magpapadala nga ako ng isang Usec doon to coordinate with the prosecutors of Mindanao kasi yung isang regional prosec natatakot siya kasi may ISIS sa bubungan niya,” said Aguirre.
Aguirre appointed for the task Justice Undersecretary Reynante Orceo who flew Tuesday to Iligan City.
The Secretary said that the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) have requested the assignment of at least two prosecutors to affected areas to conduct inquest proceedings and preliminary investigations against arrested members of Maute.
“We have only 72 hours or three days within which to act, especially if there is detention without any warrant of arrest,” he explained regarding the conduct of inquest and preliminary proceedings.
However, the DOJ chief lamented it would be difficult to do the job “unless it is made inside the military facilities for the safety of the prosecutors.”
“Kaya we are thinking if we can do it outside Mindanao,” he said.
Because of the same reasons, Aguirre is also seeking the conduct of trials outside of Mindanao.
“Kaya nakipag-coordinate ako sa SC. Kinakailangan yan,” explained Aguirre, declaring approval from the high court is required for the transfer of venues for trials.
The DOJ chief said this will be part of the fine-tuning of the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) on the declaration of martial law in Mindanao.
“Aayusin natin; how would the DOJ and the courts function when there is martial law?” he asked.
“Very specific yan; hindi nawawala ang functions nila during martial law and even during the declaration of the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus,” he added.