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Trillanes’ amnesty voided: Everything you need to know

Amid Pres. Rodrigo Duterte’s state visit in another country, Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV was surprised by an advertisement issued by Malacañang and was published in the Sept. 4 issue of the Manila Times newspaper.

In the said advertisement, the president is revoking the amnesty granted to the senator by former president Benigno Aquino III in 2010, and declaring it as “void ab initio” or to be treated as invalid from the outset under Proclamation 572 dated August 31, 2018.

It mentioned that the senator did not file an Official Amnesty Application Form as per certification issued by Lt. Col. Thea Joan Andrade, stating that “there is no copy of his (Trillanes) application for amnesty in the records” and that the senator “never expressed his guilt for the crimes that were committed on the occasion of the Oakwood Mutiny and the Manila Peninsula Siege.”

It was also stated in the proclamation that: “The grant of amnesty [given] to Trillanes under Proclamation No. 75 is declared void ab initio because he did not comply with the minimum requirements to qualify under the amnesty proclamation.”

The proclamation also orders the Department of Justice and the Court Marshall of the Armed Forces of the Philippines:

(1)To pursue all criminal and administrative charges against Trillanes
(2) To employ all lawful means to apprehend him and bring him back to the detention facility where he had been jailed to stand trial

“Mr. President, hindi ako takot sa’yo”
By: Neil Arwin Mercado and Nina Angelica Venus

For his part, Trillanes, a staunch critic of the administration, said that he is not afraid of Duterte and assured that he will not escape his possible arrest following the revocation of his amnesty for his Oakwood Mutiny and the Manila Peninsula Siege cases.

The senator said his lawyers are already looking for legal remedies to help his case.

“Hindi ko iiwasan yan. Mr. President [Duterte], hindi ako takot sa iyo,” Trillanes told reporters.

“Hindi ako magtatago definitely. My lawyers are exhausting legal remedies. Kung dadating sa punto na kailangang pumunta, mag-walk in pa ako mismo. I will not resist arrest, I will not escape. Haharapin ko ito. Lalo akong gaganahan [mag-stay]. ‘Di ako matatakot, ‘di ako aalis,” he added.

Trillanes further explained that Duterte’s move to revoke his amnesty is a clear manifestation of the president’s dictatorial leadership.

He also tagged Duterte’s move as a “big nonsense” when he presented to the floor video clips of a news report that would signify he applied for amnesty in person.

He said that he will stand his ground as what the President wants is a “warrantless arrest.

“Mr. Duterte, duwag ka. Inantay mo pang makaalis ka bago mo nilabas itong proclamation mo. This is a clear case of political persecution, but I will not cower,” he said in a statement.

Requires approval of both Chambers
By Nina Angelica Venus

Any arrest that will be made to Trillanes is illegal, says Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan.

The opposition senator appealed to the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police not to take action on the proclamation.

Pangilinan said in a statement that an amnesty revocation requires the agreement of both Houses of Congress and until the House of Representatives and the Senate approve, the arrest cannot be executed immediately.

President has power to rescind amnesty for ‘political offender’

Contrary to Sen. Pangilinan’s view, Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo said in a statement that the president has the power given by the Constitution to end the amnesty given to Trillanes, who he considers a “political offender”.

“The State cannot be shackled by an act of clemency it has given to a political offender when the latter pursues subsequent acts inimical to its interest and violative of its fundamental charter. The State, acting through the President, has the inherent right to protect itself from assault coming from whatever source.

“As Chief Executive and Head of Government, he has the power to issue orders protective of the State and its people. This is in line with the prime duty of the government to serve and protect the people under Article II, Section 4 of the 1987 Constitution.

“Even assuming that Proclamation No. 75 [signed during the Aquino administration] is valid and is compliant with the pertinent laws, rules and regulations of an executive clemency, the declaration of the grant of amnesty as regards Senator Trillanes as void is constitutionally allowed.

“Senator Trillanes has abused a grant of amnesty, albeit void, and it compels its nullification by the President – the official authority who is considered by the 1987 Constitution as the grantor of executive clemencies,” Panelo’s statement read.

No other choice but high court
By: Robert Andrei Cimbracruz

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said that the senator, who is now under Senate custody that protects him from any possible arrest, may be forced to go straight to the Supreme Court to fight his arrest.

The Department of Justice has sought the help of Makati Regional Trial Court to issue a travel ban and warrant of arrest to Trillanes.

State prosecutors filed a motion before the Makati Regional Trial Court branch 148 after Duterte nullified his amnesty by declaring it “void ab initio” under Proclamation 572.

Contrary to Trillanes’ earlier claim that all charges against him were dropped when he was granted the amnesty, the DOJ wrote in its motion that the senator’s case is still unresolved.

“It is clear that this instant case is still pending with this Honorable Court and has yet to be terminated through a promulgation of judgment which was merely suspended last Dec. 16, 2010,” the motion reads.

The DOJ also sought the court to issue a hold departure order against Trillanes saying that “he has the means and resources to flee to another country in order to escape criminal jurisdiction.”

Diversionary tactic—Robredo
By: Neil Arwin Mercado

Amid the revocation of Trillanes’ amnesty, Vice President Ma. Leonor “Leni” Robredo on Tuesday, September 4, tagged Proclamation 572 as a diversionary tactic of the Duterte’s administration to sway public opinion on problems that persist in the country today.

“Ginagamit ito ng administrasyon upang ibaling ang atensyon ng publiko mula sa mga kakulungan nito sa pagtugon sa mga problemang pumipilay sa ating bayan: ang patuloy na pagtaas ng presyo ng mga bilihin, ang shortage sa suplay ng bigas sa iba’t ibang bahagi ng bansa, ang paghina ng ekonomiya, ang kaliwa’t kanang alegasyon ng korapsyon, at maging ang lumalalang daloy ng trapiko,” Robredo said in a statement.

The vice president said the revocation of Trillanes’ amnesty is a “clear manifestation of the attempts of the administration to silence the opposition”.

“Ang desisyon ng Palasyo na ideklarang void ang amnestiyang ibinigay kay Senator Antonio Trillanes IV ay isa namang patunay na gagawin ng administrasyong ito ang lahat para patahimikin ang sinumang kumokontra rito,” Robredo said.

Friendly advice from colleague

“This too shall pass,” this was the friendly advice of Senator Nancy Binay to beleaguered Trillanes.

She added that: “From somebody na pinagdaanan ‘yung ganyan… lilipas din ‘yan,”

She also said that in these trying times, the senator would know his truest allies: “‘Yung positive dun is dun mo malalaman kung sino ‘yung kaya mong asahan.”

Mark Nituma

Mark is the editorial director of TFT and is currently based in its Manila headquarters. Upon graduating from UP Diliman in 2010, he joined the internationally-awarded TV magazine show Kapuso Mo, Jessica Soho as a researcher. Nearly a year later, he became one of its segment producers. In a span of five years with GMA7, he was able to travel not only the Philippines’ most beautiful spots but also the country’s least visited places—from some of the war-torn areas of Mindanao to impoverished parts of Luzon and Visayas—capturing a closer look at life in these communities. Mark also worked with various TV programs and specials such as Philippine Treasure and Reel Time. After his five-year stint in the media network, he flew to Dubai in 2016 to start his career as a journalist/reporter for The Filipino Times. Got story pitches? Send Mark an email at [email protected] or drop him a line on facebook.com/mark.nituma.

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