No basis to void Trillanes amnesty, says Alejano

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 04 2018 08:22 PM

MANILA - Magdalo Party-list Rep. Gary Alejano on Tuesday said the administration has no basis to invalidate the amnesty granted to Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV.

Duterte, in a proclamation released Tuesday, voided the amnesty earlier granted Trillanes, saying the latter had failed to comply with minimum requirements such as admission of guilt for charges he faced over military uprisings more than a decade ago.

Trillanes and Alejano, along with their band of Magdalo soldiers, led military uprisings in 2003 and 2007 against then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. They were granted amnesty by Duterte's predecessor, former President Benigno Aquino III.

Alejano said he and Trillanes admitted their guilt when they filed their application for amnesty in January 2011, which was covered by the media.

"Nagkaroon ho kami ng (we had a) debate whether to agree with that or not, otherwise parang nilalagay namin ang sarili namin sa alanganin (it's like we are bringing ourselves to uncertainty). We complied with it," Alejano told reporters at the Senate after meeting with Trillanes.

He said they both admitted they had "crossed over" and violated military rules, the Constitution and the Revised Penal Code. 

"Inamin ho namin. Iche-check ho yan ng legal ng committee ng Department of National Defense if we complied or not otherwise hindi ho yan ia-approve (We confessed. The legal committee of the Department of National Defense checked if we complied, otherwise they would not have approved)," Alejano said. 

Alejano added that charges of rebellion and coup d'etat against them relating to the uprisings have been dismissed.

"'Mayroon ho kaming kopya ng dismissal ho niyan. So ngayon, anong basehan ng pag-aaresto kay Sen. Trillanes? Ano ang krimen (We have a copy of that dismissal. So now, what's the basis for the order to arrest Sen. Trillanes? What's the crime)?" he said.

Alejano said Trillanes was not among them when they faced administrative cases at court martial.

"Kung ang court martial ang pagbasehan (When you talk about court martial), Sen. Trillanes was deemed resigned [from the military] when he filed his certificate of candidacy for the 2007 national elections," he said.

"Kaya nung kami ay nabigyan ng order for discharge from the service, wala na ho si Sen. Trillanes doon (So when we were issued orders for discharge from the service, Sen. Trillanes was no longer there)... He was already out of the jurisdiction of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP). Lahat ho 'yan ay walang basehan (All of that has no basis)."

Military spokesperson Colonel Edgard Arevalo said the AFP will assemble a new court martial to hear charges against Trillanes, who is now back to his military status since the amnesty was invalidated.

"The court martial will have to be reconstituted as some members have already retired. In which case, the acting chief of staff Lt. Gen. Salvador Melchor Mison Jr. has already instructed the convening of a general court-martial," he said.

Alejano said their group would continue to look for legal remedies to help Trillanes.

"Inspite of our reservations on the legal processes in the country especially in the Supreme Court, patuloy kaming aasa at maniniwala sa hustisya ng bayan (we continue to count on and believe in justice in this country)," he said.

"Sa amin lamang hindi ho tayo tatahimik. Pino-point out ho natin ano ang kamalian at kakulangan at kalokohan ng gobyerno na ito dahil mayroon ho kaming mandato (We will not be silenced. We are pointing out the wrongs and shortcomings and foolishness of this government because we have a mandate)... If we allow it, therefore, we are allowing the return of the dictatorship in our country."

Alejano, meanwhile, called on the military and police not to follow "illegal orders" after they were instructed under the proclamation to "employ all lawful means to apprehend Trillanes."

"I am reminding them that they are not the army of this president. They are the army of the people," said the lawmaker who, like Trillanes, is a vocal administration critic.