Roxas bombing suspects' trial remains in limbo

THE trial of the five suspected Maute Group members accused in the September 2, 2016 Roxas night market blast remained undecided before the courts in Davao City.

Davao City Prosecutor's Office spokesperson fiscal Jay Karel Sanchez said the cases handled by the Regional Trial Court branches 33 and 17 are being held in abeyance pending the resolution of the Supreme Court (SC) on the petition to move the trial outside Davao City.

"So far, wala pang update from the Supreme Court. The decision to change venue for the trial and detention of the accused has not yet been decided," Sanchez said.

There were 14 alleged Maute members earlier charged with terrorism, in violation of the Republic Act 9374 or The Human Security Act, and multiple murder with multiple attempted murder under the Revised Penal Code following the incident.

But the charges against the others were dropped.

One was a minor, while two turned into state witnesses after they executed extra-judicial confessions, which became basis for prosecutors to charge the other five.

One of the five accused was a son of a high-ranking Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) leader and former mayor of Cotabato City, Muslimin Sema.

The accused Mohammad Abdul Jabbar Sema's plea for reinvestigation was granted by Judge Lope Callo in May 2017 on the grounds that the suspect was not given the opportunity to submit his counter-affidavit.

Facing charges are TJ Macabalang, Wendel Apostol Facturan, Musali Mustapha, Zack Villanueva Lopez and Jericho De Rome.

The City Prosecutor's Office filed a petition before the Department of Justice to move the trial and detention of the accused to another place.
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