No form, no amnesty: Trillanes' motion over amnesty application denied

Mike Navallo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 07 2019 04:43 PM | Updated as of Jan 07 2019 05:58 PM

MANILA - (UPDATED) A Makati court has denied Senator Antonio Trillanes IV's motion for reconsideration over his arrest following the revocation of his amnesty.

In a 6-page order dated December 18, 2018 but released to the media only on Monday, Makati Regional Trial Court Branch 150 Judge Elmo Alameda stood by his September 25, 2018 ruling.

“Sen. Trillanes was not able to prove through testimonial and documentary evidence that he filed his application for amnesty nor expressly admitted his guilt in the application form for the crime he committed during the Manila Peninsula incident which are the minimum requirements set forth under Proclamation No. 75,” he said.

Alameda cited a basic rule in evidence where a party who alleges a fact has the burden of proving it in court.

“Records will clearly show that Sen. Trillanes failed to establish the existence of the official copy of the amnesty application form which is the primary evidence required as proof of its filing with the DND Ad Hoc Amnesty Committee,” he said.

“Sen. Trillanes’ inability to present the official original copy duly stamp marked received or even a photocopy of the application form bars him from proving the alleged contents thereof. The rule requires that the highest available degree of proof must be produced by him to prove the contents thereof especially his claim that he made a narration of his admission of guilt of crime subject of the application for amnesty,” he added.

Alameda said no other evidence should be admitted other than the document itself and the senator could not claim any exception to the rule since no evidence was presented that the accomplished application form exists in the files of the DND Ad Hoc Amnesty Committee.
 
According to Alameda, proof of the due execution of the document and its subsequent loss would constitute the basis for the introduction of secondary evidence.
 
“Unfortunately, Sen. Trillanes failed to prove that the original of the alleged application form exists. Sen. Trillanes even failed to explain his failure to locate or find the copy thereof. He also failed to prove the contents of his application,” he said.

The court, Alameda added, could not also presume Trillanes submitted his application.

IN CONTRAST WITH MAKATI 148 RULING

Alameda’s ruling is in stark contrast to the ruling of Judge Andres Soriano of Makati City RTC Branch 148 who ruled that Trillanes applied for amnesty and admitted his guilt, hence, there was no basis to arrest him.

Soriano said that the absence of the original application form does not mean that no application was filed.

Instead, Soriano said it was the prosecution who failed to sufficiently establish that Trillanes did not apply for amnesty.
 
He added that the loss of the document was not Trillanes’ fault but those of the public officers who should have custody over the document.

The DOJ has contested Soriano’s ruling and is set to file, through the Office of the Solicitor General, an appeal before the Court of Appeals.

Trillanes has informed the Br. 148 it intends to seek a partial appeal of the decision through his petition questioning the constitutionality of PP572 before the Supreme Court.

REBELLION TRIAL TO CONTINUE

In his ruling, Alameda clarified that the court did not nullify Proclamation No. 75, which was the basis of then Pres. Benigno Aquino III’s grant of amnesty to Trillanes and his colleagues, but only ruled on the existence of factual and legal bases for the issuance of Proclamation No. 572 by Pres. Rodrigo Duterte, which revoked the amnesty granted to the senator.

With this ruling, Makati RTC 150 is set to continue receiving evidence from the prosecution.