SolGen to defer to DOJ on Trillanes case

Dharel Placido, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 24 2018 07:10 PM

MANILA - The Office of the Solicitor General will defer to the Department of Justice on the government’s next move in the case involving Senator Antonio Trillanes IV, the Palace said Wednesday.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo made this clarification after he said Tuesday that Solicitor General Jose Calidad will elevate to the Court of Appeals a Makati court’s junking of the government’s bid to jail Trillanes for coup d’etat.

“Since it was the Department of Justice which filed the case, the Office of the Solicitor General will let it file a motion for reconsideration before the RTC (regional trial court),” Panelo said in a phone interview.

After Panelo said Calida will go straight to the Court of Appeals, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said Tuesday his department will still file a motion for reconsideration before the Makati Regional Trial Court Branch 148 not later than Friday, Oct. 26.

The Makati RTC Branch 148, led by Presiding Justice Andres Soriano, junked the government’s bid to have Trillanes arrested for coup d’etat over his participation in the 2003 Oakwood mutiny.

The government sought Trillanes’ arrest after President Rodrigo Duterte issued a proclamation voiding the amnesty given to the rebel soldier-turned-senator in 2011 by then president Benigno Aquino III.

But Soriano ruled that Trillanes filed for amnesty and that his coup d’etat case has already been dismissed.

It was Calida’s inquiry into the regularity of Trillanes’ amnesty application which triggered Duterte’s proclamation. The government insists that the actual copy of Trillanes’ amnesty application is the best proof that he indeed underwent the process. Trillanes has so far failed to produce this document.

Trillanes is leading a Senate inquiry into the alleged irregularities surrounding the bagging of government contracts of Calida’s security firm.

Panelo has 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.

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 DOJ 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.