5 alleged Roxas bombers to be arraigned on Friday

THE FIVE arrested alleged Maute group members accused in the Sept. 2 Roxas night market blast will be arraigned this Friday.

Regional Trial Court Branch 33 Judge Lope Callo set the arraignment of TJ Macabalang, Wendel Apostol Facturan, Musali Mustapha, Zack Villanueva Lopez and Jericho de Rome on June 23 at 8:30 a.m. in the multiple murder and multiple frustrated murder cases.

The blast in the busy night market along Roxas Avenue bombing killed 15 and injured 69 others.

The five accused, together with seven other individuals, were also indicted for terrorism, in violation of Sec. 3 of Republic Act 9374 (Human Security Act).

The charges against the others were dropped. Some of the cleared respondents were either minors or turned into state witness.

The court will also hear on Friday the bail petition of Macabalang in the case. The petition was earlier set on June 14 but was moved due to the pending petition to transfer the trial and detention of the accused.

The Office of the City Prosecutor has filed a petition before the Department of Justice to move the trial to other place, preferable in Manila, due to security reasons. They also sought to transfer the detention of the accused, citing that they pose danger to the city.

Two of the suspects-turned-state witnesses have been placed under the Witness Protection Program. The extra-judicial confessions they executed became the basis of the prosecution office to indict the other respondents.

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