DOJ asks court to junk Trillanes’ evidence of amnesty application

Mike Navallo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 11 2018 04:34 PM

Senator Antonio Trillanes IV show relevant documents on his amnesty during a press briefing at the Philippine Senate in Pasay. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - The Department of Justice (DOJ) on Wednesday asked the Makati City Regional Trial Court Branch 148 to junk the evidence presented by Sen. Antonio Trillanes to prove that he applied for amnesty.

The senator is facing coup d'etat charges before Makati RTC Branch 148 in connection with the Oakwood mutiny in 2003.

In its 10-page comment/opposition to Trillanes’ formal offer of evidence, DOJ prosecutors led by Senior Deputy State Prosecutor and OIC-Prosecutor General Richard Anthony Fadullon said the court should not consider the senator’s evidence because some of them were not properly authenticated.

These include the senator’s certificate of amnesty, some photographs and printouts of the Facebook page of the Department of National Defense.

According to the DOJ, Trillanes should have presented the original copy of his certificate of amnesty for comparison with the certified true copy presented in court.

He should also have presented the photographers who took the photos.

Under the rules on electronic evidence, audio, photographic and video evidence are admissible if identified, explained or authenticated in court by the person who made the recording or by another person competent to testify on the accuracy of the recording or photograph.

Trillanes filed his formal offer of evidence on Tuesday submitting 17 exhibits.

Aside from his certificate of amnesty, photographs, and printouts, he submitted the affidavits of Lt. Col. Josefa Berbigal and former Defense Undersecretary Honorio Azcueta, the head of secretariat and the chair, respectively, of the DND Ad Hoc Amnesty Committee.

He also submitted the affidavits of Magdalo colleagues Dominador Rull, Jr. and Emmanuel Tirador, to prove that he applied for amnesty and admitted guilt.

In addition, Trillanes also presented documents from the DND and the court, including a blank amnesty application form.

DOJ prosecutors questioned the purpose for which the affidavits were being offered as evidence.

They note that Berbigal had no authority to conclude that Trillanes complied with all the requirements as her role was merely to receive and process applications. Neither did she have authority to administer oath to Trillanes.

The DOJ meanwhile called the affidavits of Rull and Tirador self-serving, baseless and biased because of their ties to Trillanes being Magdalo colleagues. Rull is also Trillanes’ executive assistant.

The DOJ also objected to the admission of some DND documents as secondary evidence to prove Trillanes’ amnesty application because Trillanes was supposedly not able to establish that the original document was lost, destroyed or cannot be produced in court.

Under section 5, Rule 30 of the Rules of Evidence, only the original document is admissible as evidence in court except if, among other exceptions, the original has been lost, destroyed or cannot be produced in court without fault (bad faith) on the part of the party offering the evidence.

According to Makati RTC Branch 148 clerk of court Maria Rhoda Malabag-Peralta, Judge Andres Soriano will first resolve Trillanes’ formal offer of evidence before ruling on the DOJ’s motion for the issuance of hold departure order and warrant of arrest.