MANILA - Malacañang on Monday said it respects a Makati court's decision denying the government’s motion to have Senator Antonio Trillanes IV arrested for coup d’etat, but stressed this is not yet the end of the government’s moves against the opposition lawmaker.
In the decision penned by Judge Andres Soriano, the Makati Regional Trial Court Branch 148 cited records that show the coup d'etat case against Trillanes was already dismissed on September 21, 2011, and that the dismissal was "final and executory."
"Well established is the doctrine that a final and executory judgement shall be immutable. The court, in fact, loses jurisdiction over the case when its decision has become final and executory," the decision read.
The court, nonetheless, upheld the validity of the Proclamation 572 of President Rodrigo Duterte voiding the former rebel soldier’s amnesty.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said the Palace respects the constitutional independence of the Judiciary “and it will continue do so.”
“As we have said, the Executive Branch has and will always bow down to the majesty of the law, and it will not think twice in doing the same for this particular case. Compared to those personalities in the opposition, we will not unfairly appeal to the pity of the public but will address this matter head on in the proper forum,” Panelo said in a statement.
“In the same way, we welcome its affirmation of the validity of the proclamation issued by the President as it signifies that this administration is not engaged in the political persecution of its critics but is only enforcing the law against anyone who goes against its command.”
Panelo said the President has yet to get a copy of the ruling.
For Panelo, a lawyer, the ruling “suggests that this case is unique.” He argued that the first jeopardy has not yet been validly terminated “since the dismissal of the case for coup d'etat was based on a void executive grant.”
“Therefore, existing legal remedies under the law may be availed of, considering especially the said court’s confirmation that Presidential Proclamation No. 572 (s. 2018) is legal,” he said.
Panelo said the Palace will leave it to the Department of Justice or the Office of the Solicitor General to decide which legal course it will take in the wake of the court’s decision.
TRILLANES WELCOMES DECISION
Trillanes welcomed the court’s decision denying the government’s arrest plea, saying Judge Soriano “single-handedly upheld justice and rule of law in our country despite the extreme pressure coming from the Duterte regime.”
Trillanes said the court merely upheld the constitutionality of the President's prerogative to issue such proclamation.
He stressed that the actual legality of Proclamation 572 will be tackled by the Supreme Court where they first filed a motion.
Trillanes was arrested nearly a month ago for rebellion, on orders of the Makati RTC Branch 150 over the 2007 Manila Peninsula siege. He posted bail on the same day.
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.
A former Navy lieutenant, Trillanes won a seat in the Senate in 2007, campaigning from detention, and was reelected in 2013.