OPPOSITION Senator Antonio F. Trillanes IV on Friday said President Rodrigo R. Duterte may order his arrest the minute he leaves the Senate premises despite pronouncements from the military that no arrest will be made.
“Kahit sabihin nila walang order ngayon pero kapag nireport nila ‘pag lumabas ako, sabihin ni Duterte ‘Hulihin ‘yan based on the proclamation,” he told reporters outside his office in the Senate. (Even if the military says there is no arrest order, if they report that I have left the Senate premises, [President] Duterte will say, arrest him based in the proclamation.)
“Galit na galit siya sa akin. Natural na the first opportunity he will get, gagawin niya ‘yan (He’s very angry with me. It’s natural that he will do that the first opportunity he will get,” he added.
He was also advised by his lawyers that his pending cases against the presidential proclamation will be moot if security forces apprehended him outside the Senate.
Mr. Trillanes ditched plans to leave the Senate last Thursday after his car was allegedly tailed by motorcyles when it left the premises for a gas-up.
He also noted the additional reinforcements deployed by the Philippine National Police (PNP) near the Senate premises after his statement last Thursday that he may leave the Senate “quietly”.
Meanwhile, the Makati City Regional Trial Court still has not issued a warrant of arrest and hold departure order against Mr. Trillanes for his rebellion case in connection with the 2007 Manila Peninsula Siege.
Judge Elmo M. Alameda of Makati RTC Branch 150 has instead ordered the prosecution to submit within five days its reply to the comment submitted by Mr. Trillanes today through his lawyer Reynaldo B. Robles.
Mr. Robles is likewise given five days upon notice to submit its rejoinder to the prosecutors’ reply. The case will then be submitted for resolution.
At the hearing, Judge Alameda asked Mr. Robles to present the actual application form of the senator for amnesty, saying that the court would not rely on secondary evidence.
Mr. Robles only presented Mr. Trillanes’ Certificate of Amnesty and other affidavits, including media reports showing he has filed an application for amnesty.
Judge Almeda ordered the submission of all affidavits from both camps. He also suggested to Mr. Robles to submit a sworn affidavit of Col. Josefa Berbigal, the officer who administered Mr. Trillanes’ filing of amnesty in 2011.
In an interview with reporters, Mr. Robles maintained that secondary evidence was sufficient to prove that Mr. Trillanes applied for amnesty.
“Well tinatanong lang ‘yung actual application form but ina-allow naman ‘yung presentation ng secondary evidence. Kasi lahat naman tayo ang experience lang natin sa gobyerno, ‘pag nag-apply ka sa isang bagay, normally ang binibigay lang sayo yung claim stub ‘di ba? Ito ‘yung pinaka claim stub, ‘yung certificate of amnesty. (Well the actual application form was just asked but secondary evidence is allowed. Our experience in the government, when we apply for something, normally they would just give the claim stub, right? This is the claim stub, the certificate of amnesty),” he said.
Contrary to Mr. Robles’ claim, Acting Prosecutor General Richard Anthony D. Fadullon said the voiding of amnesty should not be declared by the court.
“Proclamation 572 already declared Proclamation No. 75, the grant of amnesty, as void ab initio…Proclamation 572 is valid…it is not constitutional unless declared otherwise. ‘Yan ang sinusunod namin ngayon (That is what we are following),” he told reporters after the hearing.
“Dahil don, sinasabi natin hindi na natin kailangan hingin nasa korte na i-declare mong void ab initio (Because of that, we are saying that we do not need to ask the court to declare the amnesty void ab initio.),” he added.
Branch 150 dismissed the Rebellion case in Sept. 7, 2011 following the grant of amnesty to Mr. Trillanes and other mutineers.
The Department of Justice (DoJ) on Sept. 6 filed an urgent motion for the issuance of warrant of arrest and hold departure order against Mr. Trillanes following the presidential proclamation voiding his 2011 amnesty.
On Sept. 13, Makati RTC Branch 148 has also not issued an alias warrant of arrest and HDO against Mr. Trillanes’ coup d’etat over the Oakwood Mutiny in 2003. — Camille A. Aguinaldo and Vann Marlo M. Villegas