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Trillanes arrest raises Constitutional problems

27 September 2018

The arrest of opposition Senator Antonio Trillanes IV presents constitutional issues over a rebellion case that had been considered obliterated, according to former Armed Forces chief and senator Rodolfo Biazon.

Interviewed on radio, Biazon also pointed out that granting of amnesty is a shared power between the President and Congress, and which could not be voided by the President alone.

“You have to remember that there is the whole process of the grant of amnesty,” he said.

Also, Biazon said Trillanes cannot be placed under court martial proceedings because he is already a civilian.

“We have a constitutional problem. Sa aking pagkakaalam, if you’re granted an amnesty, all your criminal offenses are obliterated,” Biazon told “Bandila sa DZMM.”

Makati Regional Trial Court Branch 150 Judge Elmo Alameda on Tuesday ordered Trillanes’ arrest over the latter’s role in the 2007 Manila Peninsula siege.

Alameda, in his order to arrest Trillanes, said the senator “failed to present the original hard copy, a duplicate copy or even a photocopy showing that he personally accomplished and filed” an application for amnesty.

Senator Antonio Trillanes IV
Trillanes immediately posted bail for his temporary liberty and went back to the Senate where he has been seeking refuge since President Duterte voided the grant of his amnesty three weeks ago.

On Wednesday, Makati Regional Trial Court Branch 148 Judge Andres Soriano gave the Department of Justice (DOJ) five days from the receipt of Trillanes’ Supplemental Comment to file their answer.

DOJ prosecutors moved swiftly and filed their pleading on the same day to resolve their other pending plea for issuance of warrant and travel ban against Trillanes IV.

Makati RTC Branch 148 handled the coup d’etat charge against Trillanes over the 2003 Oakwood Mutiny

The DOJ has already secured a warrant and hold departure order against Trillanes from Makati RTC Branch 150 as the court said that Proclamation 572—declaring Trillanes’ amnesty as void—has factual basis.

A coup d’etat charge is non-bailable.

Should Soriano grant the DOJ’s motion, Trillanes would have to be detained by authorities.

Before leaving the Senate on Tuesday to post bail at the Makati court, Trillanes declared:

“Democracy lost today. Officially, we have no democracy. This case goes beyond me.”

Meantime, the affidavit of Col. Josefa Berbigal, head of the secretariat of the temporary amnesty committee of the Department of National Defense (DND) that processed the applications of military rebels for amnesty in 2011, belied the claim of Duterte that Trillanes, his fiercest critic in Congress, did not apply for amnesty nor admit guilt.

Duterte voided on August 31 the amnesty granted to Trillanes and ordered the revival of the coup d’état and rebellion charges against the senator.

Earlier, Trillanes showed pictures of himself holding the accomplished application form for news photographers as he applied for amnesty at the DND on Jan. 5, 2011.

Former Defense Undersecretary Honorio Azcueta, the then head of the DND amnesty committee, said on Sept. 9 that Trillanes applied for amnesty, “[t]hat’s why on record he was granted amnesty.”

Trillanes’ application and those of 94 other military mutineers were approved after three weeks.

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