Maute suspects moved to Manila

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY — The government has vowed to comply with the Supreme Court (SC) order for the prosecution of Maute terror suspects here, but their detention will be in Manila.

Col. Eric Vinoya, commander of the Army’s 403rd Infantry Brigade based in this city, explained that the SC decision did not necessarily indicate that the Maute criminal suspects be detained in Cagayan de Oro City.

Eleven persons associated with the Maute terror group underwent inquest proceedings Monday, June 12, at the regional office of the police’s Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) inside the sprawling Army-operated Camp Evangelista in Barangay Patag, this city.

After the inquest, they were immediately flown to the national police headquarters in Camp Crame while the government is still contemplating where to temporarily detain them.

Earlier, the SC ordered the Department of Justice (DOJ) to conduct prosecution of all Maute-related criminal complaints in Cagayan de Oro City, 123 kilometers away from where the armed conflict is ongoing in Marawi City.

Citing security concerns, DOJ is appealing its position before the SC for reconsideration.

Meanwhile, there are strong indications that Maute terrorists are planning to retaliate in this city due to the arrest of former Marawi City Mayor Fahad Salic and other suspects associated with the Maute group, according to the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency (NICA).

But Senior Supt. Lemuel Gonda, Philippine National Police (PNP) 10 spokesperson, said during a press conference Tuesday, June 13, that the intelligence community was still validating reports on how the group is supposed to carry out the attack.

“The intelligence community has been intercepting some phone calls. And they are indicative of planning a retaliation,” Gonda said.

It can be recalled that late last week, the Cagayan de Oro City Police Office (Cocpo) released a photo advisory of two persons indicating them as would-be bombers who are possibly in the vicinity of Cagayan de Oro.

It came a day after Salic was arrested in the nearby municipality of Villanueva, Misamis Oriental. Salic’s name was implicated in the Maute siege of Marawi after his purported signature appeared on several checks seized from one of the group’s hideouts in the battered city. Mark Francisco/PNA-northboundasia.com