Trillanes to question court affirmation of Duterte order vs amnesty

Mike Navallo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 30 2018 02:15 PM

MANILA - The camp of Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV is keen to question a Makati court's order that upheld President Rodrigo Duterte's proclamation nullifying his amnesty. 

Trillanes' lawyer Rey Robles manifested this at the Makati Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 148 Tuesday during a hearing on the Department of Justice's (DOJ) motion for partial reconsideration of its order that denied its plea for the lawmaker's arrest. 

"The court was assuming good faith and the court was being courteous in not touching the proclamation of the President," Robles told reporters after the hearing.

"But now, this motion for partial reconsideration clearly shows the intent to use that proclamation to nullify a long final and executory court decision as well as to nullify the amnesty granted to the senator and a previous proclamation, Proclamation No. 75, series of 2010," he said. 

Proclamation No. 75 is former President Benigno Aquino III's 2010 order that granted amnesty to Trillanes and other rebels involved in uprisings during the time of former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Arroyo. 

On Oct. 22, Makati RTC Branch 148, which handles coup d'etat charges against Trillanes for his role in the 2003 Oakwood mutiny, junked the DOJ's bid for an arrest warrant and hold departure order against the former rebel in the wake of Duterte's Proclamation No. 572, which invalidated the senator's amnesty. 

In the same breath, it upheld the legality of Duterte's proclamation as the order did not invalidate Aquino's amnesty proclamation. 

In its motion, the DOJ argued that as the court affirmed Duterte's proclamation, it should have presumed that the President had already determined that Trillanes did not comply with the requirements for applying for amnesty.

For Robles, the DOJ's argument clearly indicated "overreach of the Executive." He said "it was the intent of the proclamation to nullify the previous court's decision," something which a president could not do.

"If that is the intent, then the proclamation should be nullified by the court. It becomes illegal and unconstitutional because it tries to arrogate, the President is trying to arrogate unto himself the power to nullify previous court decisions, a power which even the Supreme Court does not have at this point," Robles said.

During the hearing, Judge Andres Soriano gave Trillanes 15 days from October 25 to file his comment on the DOJ's motion for partial reconsideration. 

DOJ has 5 days to file its reply, after which the case will be submitted for resolution.


Robles also disclosed that the senator is set to file a pleading before the Supreme Court in relation to his petition questioning Duterte's order. 

He said the legal team will invoke factual findings of Branch 148 and include a copy of its ruling in the pleading. 

The lawmaker had asked the high tribunal to block Duterte's order, but the Supreme Court denied his petition for a preliminary injunction as it gave "leeway" to the RTCs to exercise their jurisdictions.

Apart from Makati RTC Branch 148, Branch 150 of the same court is handling a rebellion case against Trillanes over the 2007 Manila Peninsula siege, also revived in the wake of Duterte's order. 

The Trillanes camp has a pending plea for Branch 150 to reconsider its Sept. 25 order for the senator's arrest. Trillanes was booked after the court's issuance but made bail on the same day. 

Robles said the DOJ itself submitted to Branch 150 the entire transcript of the stenographic notes of the hearings in Branch 148 through its rejoinder to Trillanes' motion for reconsideration.

"Sila mismo nag-introduce ng ebidensiya doon sa transcript ng stenographic notes, testimony ng lahat ng witnesses sa Branch 148 doon sa kanilang pinakahuling pleading sa Branch 150," he said.

(They are the ones who introduced evidence in the transcript of stenographic note, testimony of all witnesses in Branch 148 in their latest pleading in Branch 150.)

"So we are contemplating on filing a motion to dismiss in Branch 150 because they have in fact invoked the evidence, and ergo, even the ruling in Branch 148," he added.

Trillanes' motion with Branch 150 is now submitted for resolution. Judge Elmo Alameda however is on leave until November 5.