THE Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 33 has rescheduled the hearing for the bail petition filed by one of the suspects in the September 2, 2016 night market bombing incident in Davao City, which killed 15 people and injured 69 others.
Accused TJ Macabalang, Wendel Apostol Facturan, Musali Mustapha, Zack Villanueva Lopez and Jericho De Rome, et. al, were earlier charged with multiple murder and multiple frustrated murder cases before the court in Davao City.
RTC Branch 33 Judge Lope Calio moved the hearing for the bail petition of the accused Macabalang on September 1. The court reset the hearing for the third time. It also scheduled the arraignment for all the accused on the same date.
"As prayed for, the accused through their counsels are given until August 1 to submit their supplemental comments, supplementing their comments which were submitted on June 23, Friday," Calio said in his order dated July 28, 2017.
Calio said the supplemental comments will be directed in the order of the court pertaining to the Petition for Change of Venue filed by the City Prosecution Office (CPO) before the Department of Justice (DOJ).
The arraignment and hearing has been postponed due to the pending petition to transfer trial and transfer detention of all the accused, who were also charged with terrorism under the Republic Act 9374 or The Human Security Act.
CPO assistant prosecutor Rizalyn Gonzales-Pontanos, in an interview, said the petition was already submitted to the Supreme Court (SC) through the DOJ.
Pontanos added that the office is waiting for the SC decision.
The petition to transfer the detention and the trial for the accused, including Macabalang, who are alleged members of the Maute group, is due to safety reasons. According to the CPO, the city risks attack while the accused are here.
Court records showed that there were 14 individuals earlier charged in line with the deadly blast. However, the cases of the two accused were dropped after they were placed under the Witness Protection Program.
Published in the SunStar Davao newspaper on August 01, 2017.
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