Philippines: Government to organize 30 prosecutors to handle trials of Marawi rebels

Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre says the 30 prosecutors will be assigned in two panels with 15 prosecutors each for the speedy resolution of the case.

Thousands flee amidst military claim of stability in Philippines
Government troops check a vehicle evacuating residents from their hometown of Marawi city in the southern Philippines, as it drives past a military checkpoint in Pantar town, Lanao del Norte, Philippines May 24, 2017. Reuters

The Philippine government is in the process of identifying those 30 Manila prosecutors, who will handle case trials to prosecute members and supporters of the Maute terrorist group, responsible in the raid and eventually the armed conflict in Marawi City killing more than 300 people. This is being done through the Department of Justice.

Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre said that the 30 prosecutors will be assigned in two panels with 15 prosecutors each for the speedy resolution of the case. Each panel will be led by a senior prosecutor.

The Philippine media quoted Aguirre as saying that the selected prosecutors will undergo training to prepare themselves for their new assignment.

The Supreme Court also allowed for the establishment of specials court to handle the Maute terrorist cases. The Cagayan de Oro Trial Court was among the first to be identified as a special court due to its proximity to Marawi City.

Meanwhile, the Supreme court also designated the Military Camp Evangelista in Cagayan de Oro City to serve as a special detention center for arrested suspects believed to have links with the Maute Terrorist Group.

The justice department also requested that Military Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig City will also serve as a possible detention center for arrested Maute terrorist members but this has yet to be resolved by the Supreme Court.

Dozens of Maute members have already been arrested by joint police and military authorities and most of them have already been detained.

On May 23, President Rodrigo Duterte declared a state of Martial Law and through this law, Philippine security personnel are empowered to arrest suspects involved in terrorism and rebellion without an arrest warrant from the court.