His finest hour: Makati judge who denied Trillanes arrest praised

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 22 2018 05:24 PM | Updated as of Oct 22 2018 06:06 PM

Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV. ABS-CBN News/file

MANILA - Opposition coalition Tindig Pilipinas on Monday praised a Makati regional trial court judge who rejected the justice department's plea to issue a warrant of arrest against Sen. Antonio Trillanes on a revived coup charge. 

In a statement, Tindig Pilipinas described Judge Andres Soriano's decision as "Solomonic" after he sustained the "factual bases for the issuance of Proclamation No. 572" of President Rodrigo Duterte and Solicitor General Jose Calida revoking the amnesty of Sen. Trillanes. 

The group noted Soriano "reviewed the evidences before him, weighed them heavily against the standards of Evidentiary Law, and found there was sufficient basis to state on record that Sen. Trillanes indeed filed an application for amnesty before the Ad Hoc Amnesty Committee pursuant to the Amnesty Proclamation of President Aquino."

"This is a decision that was made firmly and bravely against all pressure brought to bear against him by this oppressive government which will brook no dissent or accept no criticism," it said. 

"This is Judge Andres Soriano's finest hour and this country will forever be indebted to him for judicial independence."

In his decision, Soriano cited the doctrine of immutability of judgment in rejecting the DOJ's motion for the issuance of a hold departure order and alias warrant of arrest against Trillanes for the crime of coup d'etat. The court cited records that show the coup d'etat case against Trillanes has been dismissed in September 21, 2011, and that the dismissal was "final and executory."

Under the doctrine, a decision that has acquired finality becomes immutable and unalterable, and may no longer be modified in any respect, even if the modification is meant to correct erroneous conclusions of fact and law, and whether it be made by the court that rendered it or by the Highest Court of the land. 

"For now the Court finds itself powerless to disturb the said doctrine even it had sustained the factual bases for the issuance of Proclamation No. 572," the judge ruled. 

Trillanes' lawyer Rey Robles noted the judge did not allow the reopening of the case against Trillanes and ruled that the senator "did file his amnesty application in the proscribed form, and that he admitted guilt" for participating in the Oakwood Mutiny. 

"Hindi puwedeng buksan ang kaso na matagal nang dismissed. 'Yun ang naging ruling ng korte," he told reporters. 

Earlier, Makati RTC Branch 150 Judge Elmo Alameda granted DOJ’s plea for an arrest warrant against Trillanes on a rebellion case last September 25. The rebellion case was dismissed in 2011 pursuant to the amnesty granted by former President Benigno Aquino.

Trillanes posted bail on the same day of his arrest. 

The Department of Justice earlier asked the 2 Makati courts to order Trillanes' arrest and bar his departure from the country, arguing that the nullification of his amnesty meant that all cases against the senator must be pursued. 

The senator has insisted that his amnesty is valid and that he followed procedure.