MANILA - The fate of Senator Antonio Trillanes IV, whose grant of amnesty was voided by President Rodrigo Duterte over supposed missed requirements, now depends on the judiciary.
Lawyer Domingo Egon Cayosa, executive vice president of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP), said the ball is in the hands of the courts.
"Ang maganda dito eh meron nang referee. Hindi nalang 'yung gusto ng Malacañang o Senado na masusunod. Na-minimize na 'yung standoff. We're back into the checks and balances," he told "Bandila sa DZMM."
The Supreme Court (SC) denied Tuesday Trillanes' petition for a writ of preliminary injunction against Duterte's presidential proclamation that voided the senator's amnesty.
The high tribunal, however, said it "takes judicial notice of the categorical pronouncement of President Rodrigo Duterte that Senator Trillanes will not be apprehended, detained or taken into custody unless a warrant of arrest has been issued by the trial court.”
The Makati City regional trial courts that heard Trillanes' coup d’etat and rebellion charges should decide on the constitutionality of the president's proclamation, SC added.
Whichever way the courts rule, Cayosa said any interested person or party to the case could make an appeal to Supreme Court.
He added that trial could judges did not also straight away issue a warrant of arrest against Trillanes.
"Because when you issue a warrant of arrest, you already prejudiced the rights and the liberties of the citizens," Cayosa said.
Asked if the president is allowed to single out a grantee of amnesty, Cayosa had this to say.
"Hindi po puwede kasi nga equal protection under the law. The chief executive, his duty is to enforce the law sa lahat, hindi puwedeng pumili ka lang. Kaya nga kung ang kanilang theory ay void ang amnesty, lahat ng mga nabigyan ng amnesty ay mawawalang saysay ang kanilang amnesty," he said.
Trillanes, a former Navy officer, and other soldiers involved in the 2 failed uprisings against then-President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo over allegations of corruption were granted amnesty in 2011 by then-President Benigno Aquino III.
Reopening a dismissed case also violates a person's right against double jeopardy, Cayosa stressed.
"Malinaw ho sa Constitution 'yan. One of the basic constitutional right ng isang citizen is 'pag ikaw ay nalitis sa isang krimen at 'yan ay natapos na at na-dismiss na, hindi na puwedeng buksan 'yan ulit," he said.
Does he agree with Trillanes' defense that Duterte's order runs the risk of double jeopardy?
"I agree with the Constitution because it's very clear. Now, whether or not it applies to his case is something that the judiciary has to decide," Cayosa said.