Trillanes eyes questioning Duterte order vs amnesty before SC

Mike Navallo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 11 2018 05:29 PM

MANILA - The camp of Senator Antonio Trillanes IV is keen to appeal to the Supreme Court (SC) a Makati court’s ruling upholding the constitutionality of the presidential proclamation that voided his amnesty.

In a court filing dated December 9 but released to the media only on Tuesday, Trillanes’ legal counsel asked the Makati Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 148 for permission to file an appeal with the high court.

The court branch had, in its October 22 ruling, upheld the legality of Presidential Proclamation 572 even as it ruled that there was no basis to issue an arrest warrant and a hold departure order against Trillanes because he applied for amnesty and admitted his guilt. 

It also upheld the finality of the dismissal of the coup d'etat case filed against Trillanes for his role in the 2003 Oakwood mutiny. 

In his manifestation, urgent motion and notice of appeal, lawyer Rey Robles, Trillanes’ counsel, discussed the various options the Trillanes camp considered in appealing Judge Andres Soriano’s order.

He ruled out an appeal to the Court of Appeals because there is no more case to speak of.

He also said they could not file a petition for certiorari before the SC since they might be accused of forum shopping, or the intentional filing of multiple cases before different courts to obtain a favorable ruling. 

Robles noted that they have a pending petition before the high court involving a similar issue.

A petition for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court attributes jurisdictional errors to the judgment of a court.

Instead, Robles said the best approach would be to appeal the ruling to the SC in the same petition Trillanes earlier filed questioning the constitutionality of PP 572.

"...[I]t is most respectfully submitted by herein former Accused Trillanes that he can and should be allowed to appeal the said issue directly to the Honorable Supreme Court, in the same case which referred the issue(s) to this Honorable Court, particularly G.R. No. 241494,” he said.

Robles acknowledged that a direct appeal to the SC was unusual, but he said it was in keeping with the “unique, unusual and/or unprecedented facts and circumstances of the case.”

He claimed Trillanes’ case was analogous to cases involving conviction with the penalty of reclusion perpetua, and in cases involving purely legal questions of law which must be addressed immediately or where there is no existing ruling of the high court, where a direct appeal to the SC is allowed.

Robles asked Branch 148 to forward and/or elevate the records of the case to the SC, particularly to the petition Trillanes had earlier filed.

Trillanes, who is out of the country on official business, has also asked the Makati RTC Branch 150 to reconsider its ruling ordering his arrest.

The sala handles the rebellion case against Trillanes over his involvement in the 2007 Manila Peninsula siege. 

The senator, a staunch administration critic, is also facing charges of inciting to sedition before a Pasay court and 4 counts of libel before a Davao court.

President Rodrigo Duterte invalidated Trillanes' amnesty on Sept. 4 for alleged failure to comply with application requirements, including the admission of guilt.