DOJ chief says charging Trillanes 'not a useless exercise'

Mike Navallo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 23 2018 07:32 PM

MANILA - A day after a Makati court denied the Department of Justice’s motion to have Senator Antonio Trillanes IV arrested, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra on Tuesday said appealing the order is not useless, contrary to a lawmaker's claim.

Opposition lawmaker Caloocan Rep. Edgar Erice had said that the DOJ should let go of the case as it is a waste of resources.

But for Guevarra, Trillanes' case is far from settled.

“We’re sending warning signals to other potential rebellion, sedition, and coup d’ etat plotters. The Makati Br. 148 order is not the final word on the matter. Any other judge could have appreciated the same evidence differently, like Br. 150,” the justice secretary said in a text message.

“With all due respect, pursuing one to answer for the crime of rebellion or coup d’etat is not a useless exercise, as it sends a warning to all similarly minded persons who have devious plans of endangering the security of the public," he added.

Erice said the DOJ should consider letting go of the case "as it is very clear from the decision of the RTC that they don’t have a case against Senator Trillanes. Pursuing this is a waste of time and precious resources."

Bringing the issue up to the Supreme Court "will burden the high court to another polarizing political issue especially now that the midterm elections is quite near," Erice said.

"What our government leaders should do is to swallow their pride and bring closure to a useless exercise,” he said in a statement.

Last month, the Department of Justice asked Makati Regional Trial Court Branches 148 and 150 to issue an arrest warrant and hold departure order on the basis of Presidential Proclamation 572 which voided the amnesty granted to Trillanes.

Branch 150 issued a warrant of arrest, but the lawmaker was able to post bail. Branch 148 denied the DOJ’s motion on the ground that the coup d’ etat case had long been dismissed and on the basis of its factual findings that Trillanes applied for amnesty and admitted his guilt.