Trillanes' general admission of guilt insufficient for amnesty grant: DOJ

Ina Reformina, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 20 2018 10:03 PM

MANILA - A general admission of guilt, contrary to the claim of embattled opposition Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV, is not enough to warrant a grant of a valid amnesty, according to the Department of Justice (DOJ). 

State prosecutors said the rebel soldiers involved in the 2003 Oakwood mutiny, 2006 Marines standoff, and 2007 Manila Peninsula siege are also required to attach a “narration of facts of his (soldier’s) involvement/participation" aside from checking boxes on the official amnesty application form and signing the form as an acknowledgment that their involvement violated the 1987 Constitution, criminal laws, and the Articles of War.

The DOJ submitted to the Makati RTC Branch 150 a sample official amnesty application form, pursuant to Proclamation No. 75, dated November 24, 2010, issued by then-President Benigno Aquino III who allowed amnesty to be given to rebel soldiers involved in the three uprisings. 

The sample form was attached as an annex to the DOJ’s reply to Trillanes’ comment-opposition to the motion of state prosecutors for issuance of arrest warrant and hold departure order against the lawmaker in Malacañang’s bid to pursue his criminal prosecution. 

President Rodrigo Duterte ordered the DOJ and the Armed Forces of the Philippines to pursue criminal and administrative cases against Trillanes following the nullification of his amnesty.

Duterte, through a proclamation, voided Trillanes' amnesty due to the reported absence of his compliance with requirements such as filling up of a standard application form and a written admission of guilt for his participation in the 2003 Oakwood mutiny and 2007 Manila Peninsula siege.

Under item 26 of the sample official amnesty application form, and below the boxes the soldier had to check (i.e., participation in (1) 2003 Oakwood mutiny, (2) 2006 Marines standoff; and (3) 2007 Manila Peninsula siege), is found a note that reads:

“NOTE: Applicant shall submit a narration of facts of his involvement /participation as annex A.”

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra had said this detailed narration of facts of involvement/participation in the uprisings had to be under oath or sworn to. 

Also, under item 32 (’Verification’ portion) of the application form, the applicant had to sign below a line that reads:

“I hereby certify that I have read and prepared the foregoing data and the facts contained in my attached ‘narration of facts of involvement/participation,’ and that the same are true to the best of my personal knowledge.”

It may be recalled that in media interviews, Trillanes has repeatedly said the application form contains a “general admission of guilt.” He also said the checking of the above-stated boxes would be compliance with the guilt admission requirement.

Both the coup and rebellion cases were dismissed in September 2011 in light of the amnesty grant.

The DOJ insists the separate judgments are now considered “void” because the amnesty no longer has any legal leg to stand on in light of its voiding ab initio (from the beginning).

Trillanes may still file a rejoinder to the DOJ’s reply.

The staunch Duterte critic maintains his amnesty may no longer be withdrawn and accused Mr. Duterte of trying to silence a political foe.