MANILA - Former Solicitor General Florin Hilbay on Friday said the Duterte administration may have realized it made a “political miscalculation” with the sudden shift of its position on arresting Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV.
“I think it’s a dawning realization that they made a mistake with the proclamation,” Hilbay told reporters at the Senate after visiting Trillanes.
“They are possibly realizing that they made a political miscalculation na akala nila madaling arestuhin si Senador Trillanes but given the loud and noisy outpouring of support, which is not based on partisan considerations but based on the fact that he had already been provided an amnesty, I think nakikita naman ng Palasyo na mukhang nagkamali sila dito,” he added.
Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra on Tuesday said Trillanes may be arrested based on President Rodrigo Duterte's proclamation.
On Wednesday, he said court martial proceedings still have jurisdiction over Trillanes, hence the military can still effect his arrest even without an arrest warrant from the court.
But on Friday, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said the President will wait for the issuance of an arrest warrant from the courts.
Hilbay, meanwhile, said he never heard about any review of the amnesty granted to Trillanes and other mutineers when he was still Solicitor General, contrary to Guevarra’s claim that the amnesty grant was being reviewed as early as 2013.
“I was Solicitor General from 2014 to 2016. I never heard of the amnesty issued to Senator Trillanes and company being reviewed by my office,” he said.
Hilbay said he discussed some legal points with Trillanes during his visit but has yet to offer his services to the senator.
Asked if he will join Trillanes’ legal team, he said it will depend on how the Supreme Court acts on the senator’s petition.
“Looking at the documents, looking at the proclamation and the petition that was filed, mukhang malinaw sa akin na yung the law and the facts are on the side of Sen. Trillanes in this case," he said.
"And that for the government to justify the issuance of a warrant of arrest, they’d have to bend the interpretation of the law and to invent certain facts para makuha yung resulta na gusto nila, which I think is quite unfortunate."