Special courts eyed for rebellion raps vs Maute fighters

Jamaine Punzalan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 12 2017 03:43 PM | Updated as of Jun 12 2017 04:12 PM

MANILA - The Department of Justice announced Monday that it will ask the Supreme Court to create special courts to try suspected Maute fighters who have laid siege to Marawi Ciy. 

"We might file a motion for reconsideration of the Supreme Court's resolution on my letter asking that the inquest, detention and trial -- for the Supreme Court to create special courts in the Visayas or in Metro Manila for the purpose of investigating and hearing the cases of rebellion," Justice Vitaliano Aguirre II said in a press conference. 

Up to 15 suspected rebels, including Farhana Maute, mother of the 2 brothers leading the takeover of Marawi, will undergo inquest proceedings for rebellion Monday afternoon, said Aguirre. 

The justice department will also ask the courts for the transfer of the Maute matriarch to Manila in order to prevent any attempt to rescue her. 

Maute and 2 other suspected extremists were arrested last Friday after their vehicle was intercepted in Masiu, Lanao del Sur. 

Their arrest came just days after Cayamora Maute, the clan patriarch, was nabbed at a police checkpoint in Davao City. He was transferred to to Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig last week. 

The Maute couple's sons, Omar and Abdullah, had led dozens of militants who occupied several barangays in Marawi, killed and abducted Christians, and torched a cathedral last May 23. 

As of Saturday the number of security forces killed in the battle for Marawi stood at 58. The death toll for civilians was 20 and more than 100 had been killed overall.

The seizure of Marawi by fighters allied to Islamic State, including some from the Middle East, has alarmed Southeast Asian nations which fear the ultra-radical group - on a backfoot in Iraq and Syria - is trying to set up a stronghold on Mindanao that could threaten their region.

President Rodrigo Duterte said on Sunday he had not expected the battle for Marawi to be as serious as it has turned out, adding it had now emerged "that Baghdadi himself, the leader of the ISIS, has specifically ordered terrorist activities here in the Philippines".

Duterte did not say how he knew that Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, whose movement is commonly referred to as ISIS, had given instructions for the attack on Marawi. -- With Reuters