DOJ allays Zambo folks’ fears on case hearing against MNLFs involved in siege

September 4, 2014 7:00 am 

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Sept. 3 — The Department of Justice (DOJ) clarified that the members of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) involved in the September 2013 siege will not be brought back to this city to face trial of the cases filed against them.

Deputy Regional Prosecutor Peter Medalle made the clarification as he allayed fears of the residents who are apprehensive the presence of the accused might stir panic and might cause disturbance.

All of the accused are presently detained in Camp Bagong Diwa where they were transferred from this city for security reasons.

Medalle said the Court has come up with such procedure aimed to give justice to the victims and to the accused.

The Supreme Court seating en banc issued a Resolution dated August 5, 2014, which reads as follows: “A.M. No. 13-10-223-RTC (Re: Request for Transfer of Venue of Cases against Suspected Moro National Liberation Front [MNLF] Rebels in the Attempt to Take Over Zamboanga City). – The Court Resolved to NOTE the Memorandum dated July 17, 2014 of the Office of the Court Administrtor (OCA) and APPROVE OCA’s recommendation that the reception of the testimony/testimonies for the prosecution and their witnesses as well as the testimony/testimonies of the witnesses for the accused in Criminal Case Nos. 28212 and 28213 (now Criminal Case Nos.152737-TG to 152739-TG), en entitled ‘People of the Philippines vs. Chairperson Narulaji P. Misuari, a.k.a. Nur Misuari, et al.,’ be conducted by Executive Judge Gregorio V. Dela Peña III, RTC, Zamboanga City, Zamboanga del Sur under the following guidelines:

(1)After the arraignment and pre-trial to be conducted inside the premises of Camp Bagong Diwa, Taguig City, Judge Rowena M. San Pedro, Branch 158, RTC, Pasig City, shall cause the transmittal of the case records to Executive Judge Dela Peña III or his successor;

(2)Within three (3) days from receipt of the records, Executive Judge Dela Peña III shall immediately calendar the cases for the reception of evidence for the prosecution and their witnesses who are residing in Zamboanga City and in the nearby provinces;

(3)When it is the turn of the inmate/accused to testify, or whenever their presence at the trial is deemed indispensable, Executive Judge Dela Peña III shall against cause the transmittal of the case records to Judge San Pedro, Branch 158, RTC, Pasig City;

(4)After the reception of the testimony of inmate/accused, Judge San Pedro shall cause the return of the case records to Executive Judge Dela Peña III for the reception of evidence for the witnesses of the accused who are in Zamboanga City and in the nearby provinces; and

(5)Thereafter, the case records shall be forwarded to the sala of Judge San Pedro for the continuation of trial, decision-making, and promulgation of judgment.”

“Judge Dela Peña will hear the testimonies and evidences against the accused while Judge San Pedro in Pasig will hear the testimonies and evidences of the accused,” Medalle explained the High Tribunal’s en banc resolution.

He said when the time comes for the witnesses to identify the suspects, “this will be done in Pasig City.” (PNA)

TPGJR/R.G. ANTONET A. GO/UTB

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