By Vann Marlo M. Villegas
THE MAKATI City Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 148 has dismissed the motion of the Department of Justice (DoJ) seeking the issuance of a warrant of arrest and hold-departure order against Sen. Antonio F. Trillanes IV, in connection with his coup d’etat case.
In a 33-page decision, Judge Andres B. Soriano stated that Mr. Trillanes’ case on his non-bailable coup d’etat charge, in connection with the 2003 Oakwood Mutiny, has long been dismissed on Sept. 21, 2011 following the grant of amnesty to the Senator and this “has become final and executory.”
“The Court, in fact, loses jurisdiction over the case when its decision has become final and executory,” the decision read in part, adding that the there is no reason “to disturb the doctrine of immutability of a final and executory judgment.”
The Court also stated that Mr. Trillanes filed his amnesty application and admitted his guilt over his cases based on the pieces of evidence he presented such as eye-witness testimonies, authenticated photographs and secondary evidence that will prove that he filed his application form.
On the other hand, following the Supreme Court’s resolution directing the lower courts to determine the legality of the Proclamation, the Court upheld that President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s Proclamation No. 572 is constitutional as it has not “breached any constitutional guaranty,” contrary to the claim of the Senator that it is unconstitutional.
“Proclamation No. 572, series of 2018 is purely an executive act and prerogative in the exercise of the President’s power of control and supervision over all offices and agencies of thee executive department,” the decision read.
“In voiding the grant of amnesty to Trillanes, Proclamation No. 572 merely sought to correct what the executive branch perceives to be an erroneous grant of amnesty to Trillanes,” it added.
Mr. Soriano’s decision is different from the order by Makati RTC Branch 150 which handled the rebellion case of the Senator in connection with the 2007 Manila Peninsula Siege.
Judge Elmo M. Alameda of Makati RTC Branch 150 on Sept. 25 granted the motion of the prosecution and issued a warrant of arrest and hold-departure order against Mr. Trillanes, who posted P200,000 bail the same day.
Mr. Alameda is currently hearing a motion of Mr. Trillanes for the reception of evidence.
Mr. Trillanes, who received the court sheriff at the Senate, said, “Judge (Andres) Soriano single-handedly upheld justice and the rule of law in our country despite the extreme pressure coming from Duterte regime. So we are very pleased that there is hope in our country and he is personified by Judge Soriano,” he told reporters after receiving the court resolution from the court sheriff.
“We will remember this day because truth won, justice won, the rule of law won, (and) democracy won,” he added.
Mr. Trillanes said he will continue to be the same critic as he was, noting that he was just upholding his role in a “democracy as member of the opposition.”
For his part, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador S. Panelo said, “We respect the denial on the motion submitted by the Department of Justice for the arrest of Senator Antonio Trillanes IV in relation to his criminal charge for coup d’etat.”
“In the same way, we welcome its affirmation of the validity of the proclamation issued by the President as it signifies that this administration is not engaged in the political persecution of its critics but is only enforcing the law against anyone who goes against its command.” —with Camille A. Aguinaldo and Arjay L. Balinbin
By Vann Marlo M. Villegas