No DOJ involvement in review of Trillanes amnesty: Guevarra

MANILA — Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra on Wednesday clarified that the Department of Justice was not involved in the review of the amnesty granted to Senator Antonio Trillanes IV, which was declared void ab initio by President Rodrigo Duterte through Proclamation No. 572.

“The DOJ was not involved at all in the review of his amnesty and I don’t make ad hominem arguments,” Guevarra said.

Guevarra made the statement in response to Trillanes’ tirades, calling him and the legal team of the President as incompetent because they allegedly failed to do a research, when in fact the case against him was already dismissed.

Earlier, the Department of National Defense (DND) said they have not seen a copy of the application of Trillanes for amnesty, thus it means he did not file.

Trillanes showed video clips, documents and the like proving that he indeed filed an application for his amnesty along with the other Magdalo members that were involved in two failed mutiny against then President and now House Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

On Tuesday, Makati City Regional Trial Court (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.

“We have to listen to both sides first before we decide what to do with the case,” Soriano told reporters.

“[This case] requires study. This is not something that you just rule overnight, it is not as easy as that,” he said adding that every case is unique and assured that he will treat this case the way he treats every other case.

Court records showed that the case against Trillanes and the other soldiers have been dismissed in 2011 following the grant of amnesty.

On whether the dismissal order have an effect on the recent motion filed by the DOJ, Soriano said it is one of the issues that has to be resolved by the court.

“The issue of whether the docket can be reopened or not is obviously one of the issues that should be resolved by this court,” Soriano said.

He refused to give further details on the factor or issues that needed the court needs to look into.

“I do not like to talk about the issues being raised because they will have to be addressed formally,” he added.

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.

However, Trillanes can be taken into custody by the Senate but if the provision of Proclamation 572 will be followed, the senator should be detained at Camp Aguinaldo, where he was formerly held prior to the granting of amnesty.

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.

Meanwhile, Trillanes is preparing a petition to question the proclamtion before the Supreme Court.

Likewise, he denied the claim that he did not file an application for amnesty and did not admit his guilt for his role in the attempts to overthrow the Arroyo administration.