DOJ eyes court hearing of rebellion raps vs MNLF outside Zamboanga-A A +A
Wednesday, September 25, 2013
The Department of Justice (DOJ) will ask the Supreme Court to transfer the venue of trial of rebellion cases to be filed against members of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) loyal to Nur Misuari in connection with the Zamboanga siege.
Prosecutor General Claro Arellano said Wednesday they will file the motion once the cases reach the Zamboanga court. He said alternative venues include Metro Manila and the Visayas to ensure the safety of witnesses.
"The court should acquire jurisdiction first before we can request for a change of venue," he said in a text message.
Courts in Zamboanga remain closed due to the ongoing gun battle between the soldiers and MNLF rebels as the DOJ's five-man panel of prosecutors are currently gathering statements from witnesses and evidence.
Arellano declined to say who will be charged although in a previous interview, President Benigno Aquino III said there were witnesses who directly implicated Misuari in the two-week crisis.
Misuari, the group's chairman, is said to be hiding in Sulu.
As of Tuesday night, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) said 13 soldiers and five policemen have been killed and 162 other soldiers and policemen were wounded since the conflict started on September 9.
Twelve civilians were also killed and 51 others were injured. (Virgil Lopez/Sunnex)