Court gives deadline for Trillanes’ evidence

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THE Makati Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 148 has issued an order for Senator Antonio F. Trillanes IV to present his witnesses and evidence on or before Tuesday, after a court hearing was held regarding the validity of his amnesty for his involvement in two coup d’etat attempts.

Makati RTC Presiding Judge Andres B. Soriano said in an Order dated on Oct. 5, “Counsel for Trillanes is given a period until Tuesday, October 9, 2018 within which to file its Formal Offer of Exhibits, copy furnished by personal service the prosecution, which is given a period of 24 [hours] from receipt of the Offer to file Comment to the same.”

The order added, “Therafter, the Offer shall be considered submitted for resolution.”

A hearing was also held on Friday regarding the Department of Justice’s (DoJ) motion for an arrest warrant against the senator for his role in the Oakwood Mutiny and Manila Peninsula Siege.

In September 2011, the Makati RTC Branch 148 dismissed Mr. Trillanes’ coup d’etat case after he was granted amnesty through Proclamation 75 which was signed by former President Benigno Simeon C. Aquino in 2010.

Mr. Trillanes’ rebellion case in Makati Branch 150 was also dismissed in the same year.

Meanwhile, during the court hearing on Friday, former DND Head of Amnesty Ad-hoc Committee Secretariat Josefa C. Berbigal swore that she had seen the Senator personally submit his application on Jan. 5, 2011, a little over two weeks before the committee’s deliberations. She was ordered to personally greet him before he submitted his amnesty applications.

“It was a directive to personally meet the Senator,” she said but admitted she couldn’t recall if the Senator brought the documents himself.

“I’m not sure if it was my staff who gave the form to him or he had the form,” she added.

Department of Justice (DOJ) National Protection Service (NPS) Acting Prosecutor General Richard Anthony D. Fadullon pointed out to Ms. Berbigal some inconsistencies in her story regarding whether the Senator has brought the application himself.

“If she ushered the Senator, how would she not know?” he argued.

Regarding Mr. Trillanes’ amnesty applications, Ms. Berbigal declared she found no “adverse findings” during the committee’s Jan. 21, 2011 deliberations over the amnesty application submissions of Mr. Trillanes and 38 others.

“They (the ad-hoc committee) went over (the list of amnesty applicants) and did not find any adverse info (in their applications),” she said when she took the witness stand at the Makati RTC Branch 148 after Mr. Trillanes’ lawyer Reynaldo B. Robles asked what were the findings during the committee’s deliberations.

She added that the committee also checked if the applicants had complete required documents. These include the amnesty form, a narrative of the acts or offenses they were involved in, and a charge sheet.

Malacañang and President Rodrigo R. Duterte have been asserting that Mr. Trillanes did not apply for the 2011 amnesty granted to him. Mr. Duterte signed Proclamation 572 on Aug. 31 revoking the amnesty because he did not comply with the minimum requirements to qualify under the Amnesty Proclamation. With the revocation of the amnesty, the dismissed court cases have been revived. — Gillian M. Cortez