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Trillanes to challenge voiding of amnesty

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Trillanes
SENATOR ANTONIO F. TRILLANES IV — PHILSTAR/KRIZ JOHN ROSALES

By Camille A. Aguinaldo, Reporter

OPPOSITION Senator Antonio F. Trillanes IV said on Wednesday he will file before the Supreme Court a temporary restraining order (TRO) against the presidential proclamation voiding his 2011 amnesty.

Also on Wednesday, a Makati court gave Mr. Trillanes five days to comment on a “Very Urgent Ex-parte Omnibus Motion for the Issuance of the Hold Departure Order and Alias warrant of arrest Against Accused Antonio F. Trillanes IV,” as filed by state prosecutors.

At the Senate, Mr. Trillanes told reporters gathered outside his office, “We will file a petition for TRO in the Supreme Court.”

He also said President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s Proclamation No. 572 “should alarm the Justices of the Supreme Court because (Mr.) Duterte has exercised executive, legislative, and judicial powers.”

“If they affirmed the presidential declaration, the President can now issue a warrant of arrest,” he added.

Mr. Duterte’s proclamation voided the amnesty granted by President Benigno S.C. Aquino III to Mr. Trillanes, who, as a Navy lieutenant, led a series of revolts against then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

Malacañang maintains that Mr. Trillanes had neither filed for amnesty nor acknowledged his crimes against the Arroyo administration, on which the grant of amnesty is based.

On the other hand, past court rulings contradict the Palace’s stand on amnesty for Mr. Trillanes, including a 2011 order issued by the Makati Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 148 dismissing coup d’etat charges against him in connection with the 2003 Oakwood Mutiny against the Arroyo administration.

The same court issued an order on Tuesday directing Mr. Trillanes to file a comment on the motion for his travel ban and arrest.

As to the question of the senator being subject to court-martial proceedings, Mr. Trillanes presented to reporters his 2007 clearance of service from the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) which henceforth accorded him the status of a civilian.

“The Department of National Defense (DND) has no jurisdiction over me,” the opposition senator said.

Sought for comment about the legalities of the proclamation against Mr. Trillanes, Rowena Daroy-Morales of the University of the Philippines-Office of Legal Aid said, “If an amnesty is granted without conditions, where it is absolute na parang wala na, burado na lahat, then absolute na ‘yon ‘di na pwedeng bawiin (If an amnesty is granted without conditions, where it is absolute as if everything is erased, then it is absolute, it cannot be revoked). But if there were conditions made, may amnesty on the condition(s) (that are) violated pwedeng bawiin kasi (it can be revoked because it is) conditional.”

Whether or not Mr. Trillanes applied for amnesty, Ms. Daroy-Morales said: “It’s now a question of fact.”

University of Santo Tomas Law Dean Nilo T. Divina said in a mobile message when also sought for comment, “Either position may be argued one way or the other. It is really for the Court to decide.” — with reports by Gillian M. Cortez and Vann Marlo M. Villegas





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