THE Regional Prosecution Office (RPO) welcomed the decision of the Supreme Court (SC) to transfer in Taguig City the detention and trial of the Maute Group members accused in the September 2016 Roxas night market blast. The accused were transferred in a hushed-up operation last Sunday.
RPO-Davao director Janet Grace Dalisay-Fabrero said the Court is convinced that it would best promote the administration of justice if the case is heard in another court. She added that the region stands for what is just and right.
"The region supports the stand and reason invoked by the City Prosecution Office (CPO) for the petition for change of venue [for the high-risk inmates who were earlier detained here]," Lawyer Dalisay-Fabrero told SunStar Davao on Monday.
Davao CPO spokesperson Jay Karel Sanchez said the office will comply with the orders of the High Court.
Sanchez said the request was granted through an order issued by the SC dated last January 5, 2018, pursuant to the resolution issued by the Court's second division.
The SC, in its order, recognized that the continued detention of the accused in Davao increases the likelihood of their comrades staging a rescue attempt endangering the lives of jail personnel and people residing in the city.
Personnel of the Davao City Jail in Ma-a, Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP), transferred on Sunday, the nine high-risk inmates, including two Abu Sayyaf members, to Special Intensive Care Area (Sica) at Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig City.
The Maute Group was accused of the Roxas night market blast that killed 15 people and injured 69 others last September 2, 2016, while the Abu Sayaff Group was accused of kidnapping John Ridsdel, a Canadian national last September 21, 2015, at a resort in the Island Garden City of Samal, Davao del Norte.
Seven of the nine inmates are members of the Maute Group charged with terrorism, multiple murder, and multiple attempted murder, while the other inmates are members of the Abu Sayaff charged with kidnapping with homicide.
BJMP-Davao spokesperson Jail Inspector Edo Lobenia said the Special Tactics and Response (Star) Team of the bureau headed by J/Senior Insp. Erwin Esden lead their transfer with Task Force (TF) Davao and Highway Patrol Group (HPG).
Star team is an elite tactical unit trained to perform high-risk operations composed of highly trained BJMP personnel and experts in dealing with high-profile inmates as well as in controlling critical jail disturbance and incidents.
"The BJMP is serious in performing its duties and responsibilities. We have pushed for the transfer of these inmates for the stability of the peace and security of the city," BJMP-Davao director Amelia Rayandayan said.
Davao City Jail main warden Jail Supt. Grace Sun Taculin said the city jail had earlier requested and secured approval of the petition for the "Transfer of Place of Detention and petition for the Transfer of Venue from the proper court."
Last January 13, 2017, Taculin wrote a letter requesting the SC for the transfer of custody of the high-risk inmates at Camp Bagong Diwa.
Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio endorsed their request to the SC through the City Peace and Order Council. The endorsement was helpful to facilitate the immediate transfer of the high-risk inmates.
Lobenia said high-risk inmates like the Maute and the Abu Sayaff members need maximum security as they are known to be risky personalities and may be targets for rescue by their associates or even assassination attempts as some of them may have made ardent enemies prior to their incarceration.
The transfer of inmates may only be effected on a basis of Court orders except as provided under the Rules of Court and pertinent laws.