DOJ asks SC to transfer Rasuman trial venue

By Ina Reformina, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 13 2013 04:06 PM | Updated as of Feb 14 2013 01:10 AM

MANILA - The Department of Justice (DOJ) has asked the Supreme Court (SC) to transfer the venue of the trial for the criminal cases against Jachob "Coco" Rasuman of the alleged Rasuman investments scam group based in Lanao Del Sur.

The DOJ also wants the trials suspended pending the high court's ruling.

Prosecutor General Claro Arellano bared that the DOJ wants the cases against Rasuman and his alleged cohorts transferred to a Manila Court.

Rasuman and members of his immediate family face large-scale estafa charges before the Cagayan De Oro Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 20 and the Misamis Oriental RTC Branch 23.

In a two-page motion filed with the high court, the DOJ cited Rasuman's continued detention at the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) headquarters in Manila, and the temporary relocation of most of the parties in the case to Manila.

Arellano said transporting Rasuman and the other accused back and forth from Manila to Mindanao will involve high security risks and will also be costly on the part of government.

Holding the trial in Cagayan De Oro and Misamis will also make it vulnerable to "influences" moreso that some local officials are allegedly involved in the alleged Ponzi scheme.

Arellano said transferring the trial to Manila will also prevent subjecting the state prosecutors and prosecution witnesses to threats.

"The climate in those areas are not also conducive for holding trials [because] prosecutors and witnesses are vulnerable to threats," he said.