MANILA - Court martial proceedings against Senator Antonio Trillanes IV will have to wait for the Supreme Court's ruling on the petition seeking to block the withdrawal of the amnesty granted to the Magdalo leader, the head of the Armed Forces of the Philippines said Sunday.
In a statement, AFP chief of staff Gen. Carlito Galvez said he has commissioned the General Court Martial but put the proceedings on hold after President Rodrigo Duterte said he would leave it up to the Supreme Court to decide on the amnesty withdrawal.
"I have, as the appointing authority, commissioned the General Court Martial that shall continue hearing the case of the erstwhile Navy Lieutenant Trillanes IV. However, with the recent pronouncement of the Chief Executive, GCM proceedings will be held in abeyance until the SC has ruled," he said.
Galvez also said the military will no longer comment on the merits of the case, as it assured the public that they remain united and loyal to the Constitution. He also ordered his men to stay away from politics.
"Violation of these instructions will be dealt with severely and personnel who will get involved will be immediately relieved from their posts and investigated," he said.
Durterte's Proclamation 572 earlier voided the amnesty granted by the previous administration, with the Congress' concurrence, to Trillanes in 2011. The senator has already questioned the proclamation before the high court.
Duterte in his proclamation accused Trillanes of not filing an official application for his amnesty. He also said the mutineer-turned-lawmaker never expressed admission of guilt. These two, he emphasized, are requirements for amnesty.
Trillanes, however, has presented a video showing himself applying for amnesty. The Department of National Defense said last week that they were still looking for the missing documents of the senator.
As a Navy officer, Trillanes, along with his Magdalo colleagues, led uprisings in 2003 and 2007 to protest alleged corruption under the administration of then-President and now House Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
He was facing coup d'etat charges before a Makati court and a separate case for rebellion before the court martial before he was granted the amnesty.
Last week, Trillanes presented documents showing that his cases have been dismissed.