MANILA (2nd UPDATE) - Malacañang on Tuesday said the government will ask the Court of Appeals to reverse a Makati court ruling denying a motion to have opposition Senator Antonio Trillanes IV arrested over his coup d’etat case.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said in a press briefing he has talked to Solicitor General Calida and “he said he will not file a motion for reconsideration and immediately go to the Court of Appeals.”
But for Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra, “[i]t is the DOJ who will decide what legal step to take.”
Guevarra also said the filing of a motion for reconsideration before the Makati Regional Trial Court Branch 148 is not yet off the table.
Panelo described Trillanes’ camp’s rejoicing over the court decision as “pyrrhic victory”, noting that the President’s Proclamation 572, which seeks to void Trillanes’ amnesty, was upheld by Makati Judge Andres Soriano.
It must be noted, however, that the court merely upheld Duterte’s executive power to issue such a proclamation, and that it struck down the factual basis presented in the proclamation voiding Trillanes’ amnesty.
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."
"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.
Soriano also maintained in his much-awaited resolution that Trillanes filed for amnesty and admitted his guilt for the participation in the 2003 Oakwood Mutiny in 2011.
‘ERRONEOUS’ COURT PROCEDURE
Panelo said the appeal that will be filed by Calida will be with respect to the Makati court’s non-issuance of an arrest warrant against Trillanes and its admission of secondary pieces of evidence.
Trillanes’ camp has presented videos, news articles, and witnesses proving that he applied for an amnesty for his involvement in the 2003 mutiny against then president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.
Panelo, however, said the court should have demanded the actual copy of Trillanes’ amnesty application form. He said the court’s admission of secondary pieces of evidence was “erroneous.”
“The court made that conclusion on the basis of secondary evidence which should have not been given due course. He said the issue was only to the existence and due execution of the document – I disagree, because the very issue is not only the due execution of the document, but the very contents itself,” he said.
“How would you know if he really applied if you don’t see the document itself and see for yourself if those forms are filed up to the letter and the required narrative of his participation was included therein.”
Soriano, in his decision, said secondary evidence would suffice in cases involving the existence of a document and its execution.
In a radio interview, Panelo also floated the possibility of a court martial being reconvened against Trillanes, saying this is the “logical consequence” after the Makati court dismissed the motion to have Trillanes arrested yet upheld Duterte’s power to issue a proclamation.
He said in the news conference that the military, “prior to the issuance of the decision of the Court, said it was going to reconvene the court martial.”
“They said that was their intention. Now whether they are going to do it or not, remains to be seen,” he said.
Trillanes’ camp has maintained that the military court has lost its jurisdiction over him when he ran for public office. Trillanes won a seat in the Senate in 2007, campaigning from detention. He was reelected in 2013.
Trillanes has welcomed the court’s decision denying the government’s arrest plea against him, saying Judge Soriano “single-handedly upheld justice and rule of law in our country despite the extreme pressure coming from the Duterte regime.”
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. with Mike Navallo, ABS-CBN News