Supreme Court to pilot-test tele-hearing for ‘terrorists’ in Davao City

October 14, 2018

THE Supreme Court is set to pilot-test “tele-hearings” in Davao City for suspected terrorists so they will no longer physically appear in court during trial.

Through video conference, suspected terrorists belonging to the Maute and Abu Sayyaf groups and who are detained at the Davao City jails, do not have to b ephysically attend the court hearings.

Aside from terror suspects, the project will also apply to detainees who are diagnosed with grave and serious medical conditions.

In the final session presided by Chief Justice Teresita Leonardo -de Castro last Oct.9 prior to her retirement, the High Court approved the pilot testing of the latest judicial reform project in Davao City courts upon recommendation of Court Administrator Midas Marquez.

As approved by the High Tribunal, a 100-foot monopole tower with necessary equipment will be built within the Davao Hall of Justice and will be connected to the three jail facilities in the city.

According to Marquez, three courtrooms will be equipped for the pilot implementation of the tele-hearings program.

“In order to ensure that the accused's constitutional rights are adequately protected, the counsel of the accused shall be present with the accused in the same designated room in the jail facility throughout the duration of the tele-hearing,” Marquez explained.

Hundreds of arrested members of Maute, Abu Sayaff, New People's Army and Moro Islamic Liberation Front are currently detained in Davao jails.