MANILA — The Makati City Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 148 has deferred the issuance of a warrant of arrest and hold departure order (HDO) against Senator Antonio Trillanes lV.
The court handles the coup d’état case against Trillanes, whose amnesty was voided by President Rodrigo Duterte.
Judge Andres Soriano ordered Trillanes’ camp to file a rejoinder and a supplemental comment on the motion of the Department of Justice, asking the court to issue a warrant and an HDO against him.
The court also ordered the DOJ to submit a reply to Trillanes’ supplemental comment within five days.
After the submission of all the pleadings, the court said the case is deemed submitted for resolution.
Present during Thursday’s hearing were Trillanes’ counsel Reynaldo Robles while the prosecution had acting Prosecutor General Richard Anthony Fadullon and Senior Assistant State Prosecutor Juan Pedro Navera.
The order came after Robles asked the court to give his client enough time to file a reply on the DOJ’s motion.
State prosecutors: Proclamation 572 valid
Fadullon and Navera insisted before the Makati RTC that Proclamation 572 issued by President Rodrigo Duterte is valid until annulled.
Proclamation 572 voided the amnesty given by President Benigno Aquino III to Trillanes due to the senator’s failure to comply with the basic requirements of submitting an application form and admitting his guilt.
“It has been annulled by the President. Now, the newest proclamation is valid until annulled so from Proclamation 572, we go forward,” Navera said in an interview, noting that the Makati RTC Branch 148 – which handles the coup d’état case for the Oakwood mutiny must take off from where it left in 2010, which was the promulgation of the case.
The government prosecutor maintained there is no valid amnesty granted to Trillanes because he did not comply with the requirements.
“There is evidence. There have been statements before made by himself that he did not admit, he will not admit and will never admit the fact that he committed the offense,” Navera told reporters.
He further explained that the government is focusing on the arguments on the validity of Proclamation 75 as it has been put into question, and in fact was annulled by the President due to the issuance of a new proclamation.
“We will proceed from this new proclamation, which is valid until annulled. We can’t proceed from a void proclamation,” Navera noted.
No setback despite no arrest warrant yet
Meanwhile, Navera said they have no problem with the court’s decision to defer its ruling on their motion against the senator.
“For our HDO and arrest warrant we are waiting for the court to thresh that out. For us it is not a setback but we are moving forward as planned,” Navera said.
He added that Trillanes’ pleadings means that the latter recognizes the court’s jurisdiction over the cases against him.
“You can’t ask for a relief if there is no jurisdiction over you. He himself recognized that jurisdiction by asking time to file for the pleadings. You ask for this and that so for us it is a small step step towards to have this case promulgated. We are going there. We are going there,” Navera added.
In a separate statement, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said there is no problem with the court’s order as long as Trillanes remains in the country.
“For as long as we are assured that the risk of flight is minimal, the DOJ does not mind if the trial court wants more time to resolve the pending motions,” Guevarra said.
In 2011, the trial court dismissed the case against Trillanes and the other Magdalo soldiers by virtue of the amnesty given by the previous administration.
But the prosecution said with the proclamation issued by Duterte, the court’s order of dismissal issued seven years ago is considered void.
The same alias warrant and HDO was filed by prosecutors at the Makati RTC Branch 150, which is handling the rebellion case against the lawmaker and several others for the siege of the Manila Peninsula Hotel on November 2007.
Branch 150 Judge Elmo Alameda, who is handling the rebellion case against the senator over the Manila Peninsula siege, had set separate hearings on the DOJ’s motion on Friday at 9 a.m.
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 2003 Oakwood Mutiny, the February 2006 Marines stand-off and the November 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. PNA-northboundasia.com