Aguirre rejects Maute’s prisoner-swap deal


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Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II on Tuesday rejected the proposal of the leader of the Maute group to free Catholic priest from captivity in exchange for the release of his arrested parents and relatives who are now criminally charged in connection with the Marawi City seige.

Aguirre said the government does not negotiate with terrorists and they cannot make any bargaining on the reported proposal made by Abdullah Maute to swap abducted Marawi priest Fr. Teresito “Chito” Suganob for Cayamora and Ominta “Farhana” Maute.

“The government never negotiates with terrorists,” Aguirre said sought for a comment.

The Justice Chief added that he was confident on the capability of the military to rescue the hostages of the Maute group including Fr. Suganob.

It was reported that Abdullah Maute has made an offer to freed Suganob in exchange for the release of his parents, Cayamora and Ominta “Farhana” Maute, and some arrested members of the clan.

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The offer was reportedly conveyed to Muslim religious leaders who visited Marawi City during the ceasefire being imposed by the military on Sunday in connection with the celebration of Eid’l Fitr, or end of Ramadan by the moslems.

The DoJ has just ordered the filing of rebellion charges against Farhana and former Marawi City Mayor Fahad Salic and nine others in connection to the ongoing armed conflict in Marawi City, Lanao del Sur before the Cagayan De Oro City Regional Trial Court (RTC).

In related development, the DOJ has indicted the two arrested Abu Sayyaf members believed to have provided medical treatment to wounded terrorists fighting government troops in Marawi City.

Facing a case for rebellion are Jadzrie Harad Saabdula and Jamal Kalib Jamil. The two have been subjected to an inquest proceeding over the weekend.

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The inquest was conducted inside Camp Evangelista where the arrested suspected members and supporters of the Maute group are detained.

Saabdula, 50, a nurse at the Banguingui (former Tongkil town) municipal hospital who went on absence without leave, is the brother of slain Abu Sayyaf leader Nadzmi Saabdula alias Commander Global.

Saabdula and Jamil were arrested last Thursday while they were purchasing bulk of assorted medicines at a pharmacy in Pagadian City, Zamboanga del Sur.

The case was filed in CDO, the special court designated by the Supreme Court to handle cases against members and supporters of the Maute group.

Aguirre had already sent an appeal-letter to the Supreme Court to convince the justices to grant their request to transfer the trial outside Mindanao and hold them in Taguig City due to security concerns.

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The said letter which asked for a reconsideration in the earlier resolution of the Court to hold the trial of cases related to Marawi attack in Cagayan de Oro is expected to be deliberated Tuesday at the regular en banc session of the High Tribunal.

The DOJ has already indicted several arrested members and supporters of Maute – including Cayamora Maute and Ominta Romato Maute, alias Farhana, parents of the Maute brothers who led the group behind the attack in Marawi City last May 23.

Also charged with rebellion before the Cagayan De Oro RTC were former Marawi City Mayor Fajad Salic; Mohaamad Maute, alias Abu Jadid, alleged bomb maker of Maute Group; and Faridah Pangompig Romato, Aljadid Pangompig Romato and Abdulralman Dimakuta Sevad. (Christopher Lloyd T. Caliwan/PNA)

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