THE DEPARTMENT of Justice (DoJ) yesterday filed another application for the arrest of Senator Antonio F. Trillanes IV, this time before the court that already dismissed the criminal charges for rebellion against the ex-mutineer in 2011.
“It is clear that this instant case is still pending with this Honorable Court, as the prosecution has yet to present its evidence in chief insofar as accused Trillanes is concerned,” reads the DoJ’s Sept. 7 “Very urgent ex-parte omnibus motions for the issuance of hold departure order (HDO) and warrant of arrest” against Mr. Trillanes at the Makati Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 150.
RTC Branch 150 dismissed the criminal charges on September 7, 2011 pursuant to Presidential Proclamation 75, issued in Nov. 2010 by then President Benigno S.C. Aquino III, granting amnesty to Mr. Trillanes.
Last Wednesday, the DoJ also filed a request for an arrest warrant and HDO against Mr. Trillanes before the Makati RTC Branch 148.
This came after President Rodrigo R. Duterte issued Presidential Proclamation 572 earlier this week, stating the revocation of the amnesty for failure to fulfill the minimum requirements to qualify for such pardon.
Mr. Trillanes’ lawyers filed for a temporary restraining order (TRO) against Mr. Duterte’s proclamation last Thursday before the Supreme Court.
Proclamation 572 also states that the DoJ and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) “are ordered to employ all lawful means to apprehend former LTSG Antonio Trillanes.”
Mr. Trillanes, meanwhile, told reporters at the Senate on Friday that the military Court Martial has no jurisdiction over him “whether they revoke my amnesty or not.”
The senator pointed out that he has not been associated with the armed forces since 2007.
“Walang nang hold sa akin ang armed forces as early as then,” he said.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry L. Roque, for his part, said that Mr. Trillanes was granted amnesty because of his close relations to the former president, adding “kaya binigay sa kanya (that is why he was given the amnesty) on a silver platter.”
Regarding the AFP’s authority to arrest Mr. Trillanes, Mr. Roque said, “The (President’s) instruction (to the military) is to abide with the rule of law. Kung walang (If there is no) warrant of arrest issued by any court, do not apprehend Sen. Trillanes.”
AFP, in a statement on Friday, said that they are “mindful that Sen. Trillanes IV has already filed his petition before the Supreme Court.”
“We will defer commenting on the merits of the case in deference to the sub judice rule,” the AFP said.
The Department of National Defense echoed the DND position, saying that it will follow proper court procedures.
“The DND respects the Judicial process and will defer to the court on the matter,” it said in a statement.
DoJ Secretary Menardo I. Guevarra, in a text message to reporters, said that the filing of the TRO petition was “a proper move indeed instead of arguing his case to the media.”
In another development, Mr. Duterte’s son, Paolo Z. Duterte, filed a libel case against Mr. Trillanes at a Davao court on Sept. 6.
The Duterte son, who resigned as Davao City vice-mayor last Dec., said that the charges stem from Mr. Trillanes’ accusation of corruption and extortion made during a tele-radio interview.
The senator allegedly accused the younger Duterte and his brother-in-law, lawyer Maneses R. Carpio, of “purported corruption and extortion” on “a.) UBER and other companies regulated by the LTFRB (Land Transportation and Franchising Regulatory Board); the Road Board; and c.) DPWH (Department of Public Works and Highways).” — Gillian M. Cortez