DND chief mum on Trillanes amnesty issue

MANILA — Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on Monday declined to comment on Senator Antonio Trillanes IV‘s petition against Presidential Proclamation 572 which declared the amnesty granted to him as void ab initio.

“‘Yung question ng amnesty na yan, total nandun na sa (Supreme Court), (The question regarding that amnesty is now with the Supreme Court) so let us, let the SC decide on that, kung ano (what are the) merits or demerits ng mga arguments ng both sides, pabayaan na natin ang SC (let’s leave it to the SC),” he added.

When asked on whether Solicitor General Jose Calida coordinated with him regarding Trillanes’s amnesty records, Lorenzana said the top government counsel called him on Aug. 16 to discuss the matter.

“He asked me, he asked me personally by phone kung, kung gusto nya, (if he wants) to get the amnesty records niya (Trillanes) sa (at the) DND at saka sa AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) so I provided him (access to the office’s handling the records),” he added.

And shortly after, someone from the Office of the Solicitor General went to the DND to research, Lorenzana said.

The DND chief, however, clarified he did not personally provide any records to Calida.

“I did not say I provided him any records. What I said was he asked me if we at DND have a record of amnesty of Trillanes and his group. I replied I don’t know as this happened in many years ago. I asked our JAGS (Judge Advocate General Service) to assist the SolGen (Solicitor General). SolGen Calida sent one of his staff to the JAGS. The records that came out of DND were Proclamation 75 and the amnesty documents signed by (former DND) Secretary (Voltaire) Gazmin. These were the records that the Office of the SolGen got from us. Later, a Certification that there is no record of the amnesty (for) Sen. Trillanes was also given by GHQ (General Headquarters),” Lorenzana stressed.

The DND chief also dismissed claims that Trillanes was the only one singled out, adding that many persons are included in the review.

Nakita ko marami yun eh (I saw it. There are so many documents), (I think it was) more than a hundred, tapos ilang pages yung pinirmahan ni (there were a number of pages signed by former DND) Secretary (Voltaire) Gazmin,” he added.

In his arrival speech after visiting Israel and Jordan on Saturday, President Rodrigo Duterte said the invalidation of the amnesty granted to Trillanes was recommended by Calida, who launched a process to review and dig into the amnesty records of some officials.

Based on President Rodrigo Duterte’s Proclamation No. 572, which was signed last Aug. 31, Trillanes has no pending application for amnesty granted to all active and former personnel of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and supporters who joined the July 27, 2003 Oakwood Mutiny, the February 2006 Marines stand-off and the Nov. 29, 2007 Manila Peninsula incident.

This, in effect, voided the amnesty extended to him by former president Benigno S. Aquino III through Proclamation 75 issued on November 2010.

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