PRESIDENT RODRIGO R. Duterte has signed Proclamation 572 revoking the amnesty for Senator Antonio F. Trillanes IV, in connection with his acts of mutiny and sedition against the government of then president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
The proclamation was signed last Friday, Aug. 31, and published in a newspaper on Tuesday, as authorities sought Mr. Trillanes at the Senate but was stopped by his colleagues.
Mr. Duterte’s Proclamation 572 states that “the grant of amnesty to former LTSG Antonio Trillanes IV under Proclamation No. 75 is declared void ab initio (from the beginning) because he did not comply with the minimum requirements to qualify under the Amnesty Proclamation.”
The directive referred to his involvement as a Navy lieutenant leading the 2003 Oakwood Mutiny, the 2006 Marines stand-off, and the siege of the Manila Peninsula in 2007, all in protest of Ms. Arroyo’s rule amid accusations of corruption against her administration then.
According to the proclamation, Mr. Trillanes — as a grantee under then president Benigno S.C. Aquino III’s Proclamation No. 75, providing for his amnesty and that of other participants in the said mutinies — “never expressed his guilt for the crimes that were committed on occasion of the Oakwood Mutiny and Peninsula Manila Hotel Siege,” on which the grant of amnesty should be predicated.
Mr. Trillanes also “did not file an Official Amnesty Application Form,” according to a certification on this procedure by the military just last week, Aug. 30, as also cited in the proclamation.
Thus, “the Department of Justice and Court Martial of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) are ordered to pursue all criminal and administrative cases filed against former LTSG Antonio Trillanes in relation to the Oakwood Mutiny and the Manila Peninsula Incident,” Mr. Duterte’s proclamation read.
The AFP and the Philippine National Police (PNP) are also ordered to “employ all lawful means to apprehend” Mr. Trillanes “so that he can be recommitted to the detention facility where he had been incarcerated for him to stand trial for the crimes he is charged with.”
Mr. Duterte is currently in a state visit to Israel. In a press briefing there on Tuesday morning (Manila time) Presidential Spokesperson Harry L. Roque, Jr. said of the paper work on Mr. Trillanes: “Two years na ito in the offing. And unang-una, hinahanap iyong mga record. They had to make sure na talagang walang application at walang pag-amin itong si Trillanes.” (This has been two years in the offing. First of all, [we were] looking for the records. They had to make sure that there was really no application [for amnesty] and admission [of guilt] on Mr. Trillanes’s part.)
Mr. Duterte was elected president in 2016.
Mr. Roque also stood by the military certification, when asked about videos of Mr. Trillanes’s amnesty application being circulated online on Tuesday.
For his part, Justice Secretary a Menardo I. Guevarra said of Mr. Duterte’s proclamation, “This is not a matter of revocation. When you revoke, there is something that was given validly, and you are taking it back for some reason. But that does not seem to be the case here. This proclamation declares that the grant was invalid and void ab initio, right from the beginning. So you are not taking back something. You are declaring something never actually validly existed.”
At the House of Representatives, Magdalo Representative Gary C. Alejano, who also took part in Oakwood, said he is aware his own amnesty may be voided. He also criticized the proclamation against Mr. Trillanes as “political persecution,” following after Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes P.A. Sereno’s ouster and Senator Leila M. De Lima’s arrest and detention.
At the Senate, Mr. Trillanes told reporters after meeting with Senate President Vicente C. Sotto III and Senate Minority Leader Franklin M. Drilon, “I was placed in the custody of the Senate President until my lawyers will file the necessary petitions in the Supreme Court.”
“As I mentioned, this is a warrantless arrest so we need to fight (this),” he added.
Sought for comment, Mr. Sotto told reporters: “I have given instructions to the sergeant-at-arms that based on the tradition of the Senate, to preserve the dignity of the Senate, we cannot allow a senator to be arrested in the Senate premises.”
In his privileged speech on Tuesday afternoon, Mr. Trillanes maintained that he had complied with all the requirements for his 2011 amnesty.
“I swore under oath in the application. There I admitted my guilt based in the application form that the Department of National Defense provided….The Defense officials said there was a 15-day period for anybody to oppose (the application). Mr. (Solicitor General Jose C.) Calida and Mr. Duterte should have appealed then. There was a committee who deliberated the applications for amnesty and it was approved,” he said.
Hindi ko alam kung saan nagma-magic itong mga taga-Malacañang (I don’t know what magic [tricks] those in Malacañang are pulling off),” he said, as he also criticized the “stupid” proclamation against him. — Arjay L. Balinbin, with Camille A. Aguinaldo, Charmaine A. Tadalan, and Vann Marlo M. Villegas