MANILA- (UPDATE) The government's top lawyer has challenged a Makati City court's decision that refused to order the arrest of opposition Senator Antonio Trillanes IV.
In a petition dated Jan. 17, 2018, the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) sought to nullify the Oct. 22, 2018 ruling of Makati City Regional Trial Court Branch 148 Judge Andres Soriano which declared that Trillanes applied for amnesty and denied the Department of Justice's (DOJ) motion to have the senator arrested.
In the same ruling, Soriano said Trillanes' coup d'etat case had long been closed and could no longer be reopened.
Soriano stood by his ruling in rejecting the DOJ's motion for reconsideration on Nov. 22, 2018.
In its petition, the OSG representing the DOJ insisted that Trillanes' amnesty was not valid.
"An amnesty can only be valid if it is granted by the President pursuant to Section 19, Article VII of the 1987 Constitution, and the accused admits his guilt for the crime he was charged with," the OSG said in excerpts of the petition furnished to the media Monday.
"In the case at bar, it was Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin who granted Senator Antonio Trillanes IV amnesty, not the President," it added.
The Trillanes camp earlier explained, it was former President Benigno Aquino III who granted Trillanes' amnesty through Proclamation No. 75 but the Defense department was tasked to process the applications.
The OSG also insisted, Trillanes did not admit to the crimes he was charged with.
"Worse, Trillanes was given amnesty although he did not even admit having committed the crimes for which he was indicted," it argued.
The Trillanes camp had said the application form already contained a generic admission to all crimes committed, although they could no longer produce a copy of the application form.
Soriano allowed Trillanes to present secondary evidence to prove he indeed applied for amnesty.
In contrast, Makati RTC 150 rejected all other evidence except the copy of the amnesty application form.