Guevarra dares Trillanes: Prove dismissal of raps in court

MANILA — It is now up for Senator Antonio Trillanes IV to prove in court his claim that the charges against him in connection with the 2003 Oakwood mutiny were already dismissed.

Sa court niya sabihin yan (Prove it to the court),” Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said in a text message sent to the Philippine News Agency when sought for a comment.

Trillanes has been insisting that he cannot be arrested since the cases against him at the Makati Regional Trial Court (RTC) have been dismissed on the basis of the amnesty granted to him in 2011 by then President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III.

Makati RTC Branch 148 Presiding Judge Andres Bartolome Soriano has set the hearing on the motion filed by DOJ for the issuance of an alias warrant of arrest and hold departure order (HDO) against Trillanes on September 13.

He has also ordered Trillanes to file a comment within five days from receipt of the order.

“The court has issued certain orders. The case has in fact been revived,” Guevarra noted.

“The RTC has set a hearing on Sept. 13. Doon niya sabihin yan (Tell it to the RTC). He said he will go to the Supreme Court, doon niya rin sabihin yan (tell it to the SC),” the Justice Secretary added.

Acting Prosecutor General Richard Anthony Fadullon echoed Guevarra’s remarks, stressing that Trillanes cannot rely on the dismissal of the case at the RTC.

“Yes it was dismissed by Judge Sarabia on the premise that he applied for amnesty. But the grant of amnesty as far as Trillanes is concerned has been declared void ab initio (void from the start),” Fadullon said in a text message sent to PNA.

“This being the case the decision as far as it dismissed the case against him has no leg to stand on,” he explained.

Based on the proclamation signed by Duterte 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 in November 2010.

In seeking the issuance of an HDO and an alias warrant, the DOJ noted that the case of coup d’état against Trillanes has yet to be terminated by the court despite the issuance of Proclamation No. 75 issued by former President Benigno Aquino III which granted him amnesty.

The Makati RTC Branch 148 merely granted the motion of Trillanes to cancel the promulgation by reason of Proclamation No. 75.

“It is clear that this instant case is still pending with this Honorable Court and has yet to be terminated through a promulgation of judgment which was merely suspended last December 16, 2010,” the motion read.

“Accused Trillanes is an incumbent Senator of the Republic. He has the means and resources to flee to another country in order to escape Philippine criminal jurisdiction. It is therefore imperative that a hold departure order be issued directing the Commissioner of the Bureau of Immigration (BI) to prevent him from leaving the Philippines during the pendency of this case,” the DOJ said.

On Thursday, the camp of Trillanes led by his lawyer Reynaldo Robles filed a petition before the Supreme Court (SC) seeking the issuance of a temporary restraining order against President Rodrigo Duterte’s Proclamation 572.

In a 36-page petition for certiorari prohibition and injunction, Trillanes questioned the legality of the proclamation, which invalidated his amnesty.

Named respondents in the petition were Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, Armed Forces chief of staff General Carlito G. Galvez, Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año, Philippine National Police chief Director General Oscar Albayalde and Criminal Investigation and Detection Group chief Police Director Roel Obusan.

Former Rep. Ashley Acedillo, a former Magdalo soldier like Trillanes who was also granted amnesty by then president Benigno Aquino III, went with Trillanes’ counsel to show documents of compliance with the requirements of amnesty as provided for by law.

Trillanes, a former Navy captain, is facing charges, including coup d’état, for leading uprisings against the government.

These include the mutiny at the Oakwood Premiere Hotel in Makati on July 27, 2003 and the Manila Peninsula siege on November 29, 2007.

The coup d’état case that was filed against the senator is a non-bailable offense and has a penalty of life imprisonment.