Panelo insists amnesty application different from meeting requirements
MANILA - (UPDATE) Senator Antonio Trillanes IV applied for an amnesty, the Armed Forces chief said Tuesday, contradicting a proclamation by President Rodrigo Duterte.
During the budget hearing at the Senate, Trillanes confronted AFP Chief of Staff Carlito Galvez Jr. and asked him to clarify the issue about his amnesty. Galvez confirmed that Col. Josefa Berbigal, former head of the amnesty committee secretariat, administered Trillanes' oath and the documents were not in their repository because of some lapses.
"There were some lapses na hindi naibaba 'yung documents sa J1, which was the repository of documents kasama 'yung oath. 'Yung ano namin, 'yung papers were not brought down," he said.
"So nag-apply ako, sir?" Trillanes asked.
"According to Berbigal, sir, yes," the AFP chief answered.
President Duterte signed a proclamation last August that voids Trillanes' amnesty based on two reasons: His alleged failure to apply for the amnesty and his alleged non-admission of guilt.
Duterte cited as evidence a certification from Lt. Col. Thea Joan Andrade from the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Personnel (J1) stating that "there is no available copy of his application for amnesty in the records."
Duterte's chief legal counsel Salvador Panelo meanwhile insisted that applying for amnesty is different from meeting the requirements for an amnesty grant.
He added that despite Galvez's remarks, the burden of proving the application for amnesty still relies on Trillanes.
"That will not erase the fact that as far as the records are concerned, there is none," Panelo told ANC Tuesday.
Asked whether he thinks the government's case against Trillanes is still strong, Panelo said "definitely" and noted that they will leave it to the courts.
"Let's just wait for the courts to decide whether indeed or not there was a grant of amnesty and the mandatory requirements for that have been complied with," he said.
Trillanes has insisted that the amnesty granted during the Aquino administration is valid and that he followed procedure, and showed videos and documents to prove this.
Despite this, a Makati court granted the Department of Justice's motion to arrest Trillanes following Duterte's proclamation. The senator posted bail after being taken custody by the police.