By LITO RULONA
and NITZ ARANCON
THE Misamis Oriental provincial board, Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) here, and a coalition of business groups passed separate resolutions to oppose a Supreme Court order for all Maute Group cases to be heard in the city.
Vice Gov. Jose Mari Pelaez said the provincial board on Wednesday unanimously approved a resolution to express its opposition to the order of the high tribunal.
Pelaez said the legislature also protested the order to detain arrested Maute Group suspects here.
“Misamis Oriental and Cagayan de Oro [is not the place] for such ‘high-risk’ detainees. Basin unya nga ang ilang mga relative or ang ilang mga suporters dunay himo-on nga mga kagubot,” Pelaez.
Organized lawyers in the city earlier passed a similar resolution.
The local IBP resolution, dated June 8, 2017, was signed by its president Eddie Cuaresma and other officers that include lawyers Cancio Nicanor Guibone, Katrina Mordeno, Kennette Tumala, Janeth Nuñez, Dexter Precioso, Teresa Quiñal Blanco, Rex Jose Raagas, Gregorio Miguel Pallugna, Anna Caroz, Jayfrancis Bago, and former IBP chapter president Rey Raagas.
The IBP said the SC order exposes the city to great security risks, pointing out that members of the Maute Group have “relatives and families” in the city who might add “outside pressure.”
It also pointed out that the city lost its Hall of Justice to a fire.
“The IBP-Misamis Oriental Chapter is of the view that Cagayan de Oro City is not prepared to accommodate the Maute case and instead, it should be heard in neutral areas and isolated from outside pressure or distraction like the court in Cebu City, or in Metro Manila,” reads part of the IBP resolution.
A coalition of business groups in the city and Misamis Oriental also went public with its opposition to the SC order. A joint resolution was passed on Thursday that was signed by officers of five business organizations in the city and province.
The coalition include that Cagayan de Oro Chamber of Commerce and Industry Foundation Inc. (Oro Chamber), Misamis Oriental Filipino Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry Inc. (Mofccci), Federation of Filipino-Chamber of Commerce and Industry Inc. CDO (CDO-FFCCII), Cagayan de Oro Chamber of Industries (Coci), and the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) in Region 10.
The signatories include Oro Chamber president Robertino Pizarro, Mofcccii president Adelfa Sia, CDO-FFCCII president Willy Limbonhai, Coci president Roberto Quicio and PCCI-10 president Efren Uy.
The coalition said the local business community already suffered at least P200 million or more in lost opportunities and potential investments since the start of the Marawi siege and the declaration of martial law in Mindanao.
The coalition also said the local business community was also hurting as a result of recent travel advisories issued by other countries, cautioning against travel to Mindanao.
They said the situation would be aggravated by more security concerns resulting from the Maute case hearings in the city.
“Given the proximity of Cagayan de Oro from the conflict area… there might be possible retaliation or rescue efforts by the terrorists that may happen if the trial were to happen in Cagayan de Oro,” reads part of the Coalition’s resolution.
A copy of the resolution was submitted to the SC early this week.