MANILA, Philippines – Ominta Romato Maute aka Farhana, mother of the founders of the Maute terror group, was charged with rebellion before the Misamis Oriental Regional Trial Court (RTC) in Cagayan de Oro City.
On Tuesday, June 13, state prosecutors charged Farhana and 10 other suspects for colluding with the terror group to rise up in arms against the government "to attain the purpose of removing from allegiance" or simply, rebellion.
Whether the Maute attack on Marawi City is a case of rebellion is the subject of petitions before the Supreme Court (SC).
The group was found to be in the possession of one M14 rifle, two rifle grenades, two smoke grenades, two improvised rocket-propelled grenades, 7 M1F magazine assembly, 136 rounds of M14 live ammunition, and one scope.
Another charged Maute member, former Marawi City mayor Fajad Salic, was found carrying 4 units of M203 grenades, one loaded M16 armalite rifle, and 3 loaded long magazines.
Maute mother Ominta Romato Maute aka Farhana and 10 others have been charged for the crime of rebellion @rapplerdotcom pic.twitter.com/tELYCTZ7qP — Lian Buan (@lianbuan) June 15, 2017
Transfer of trial venue
Going by the current SC directive, Farhana and the other suspects will be tried in Cagayan de Oro, where they are detained.
However, Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II has requested Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno to transfer the venue of prosecution and trial to Taguig City.
Aguirre wants the detained Maute members to be transferred to Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig, as he believes the facilities there are better equipped to secure the high-profile detainees.
Farhana and 10 other suspected Maute members, however, have been detained in Camp Bagong Diwa since June 13. The police camp also houses a facility run by the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology.
In his new letter to Sereno, Aguirre also said he is concerned for the safety of court staff in Cagayan de Oro.
Aguirre earlier requested the SC to assign courts in either Luzon or the Visayas to handle Maute cases, but the High Court designated Cagayan de Oro instead.
"Only in an environment devoid of fear and threats to their safety can everyone involved in turning the wheels of justice really do their job and do it well," Aguirre told Sereno in a letter dated Wednesday, June 14. – Rappler.com