Palace to IBP: Air side on Trillanes’ voided amnesty in SC

MANILA — Malacañang on Monday advised the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) to question the legality of Senator Antonio Trillanes IV’s voided amnesty in the Supreme Court (SC) and not in the media.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque made this reaction after the IBP has expressed “deep concern” on President Rodrigo Duterte’s Proclamation 572, declaring void ab initio (from the beginning) the amnesty granted to Trillanes by the previous administration.

“I think as lawyers, they know what they should be doing. Tigil na ang dakdak (Stop talking). If they want, they can intervene in the Supreme Court’s action and let their views know and if they have proper standing then the court will allow them,” Roque said in a Palace press briefing.

“For me, the IBP, of all organizations, knows what the proper legal remedy is. Doon sa korte dalhin ang usapin at ‘wag sa media.(Bring the issue to the court and not to the media),” he added.

Recently, Trillanes filed a petition before the SC, asking for issuance of temporary restraining order against Duterte’s proclamation.

Roque said Duterte has legal basis to declare Trillanes’ amnesty as void due to the latter’s failure to comply with the requirements, particularly personal filing of application for amnesty and admission of guilt.

Trillanes, a former Navy officer, spearheaded the failed Oakwood Mutiny in 2003 and the Manila Peninsula siege in 2007 against then president and now House Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

Ang dami kasi dakdak, ang dami drama. Ang issue lang dito, nasaan yun duly received application form mo. Importante po yan kasi duly received application form also contain yun pag-amin sa pagkakasala (There’s too much talking and drama. The only issue here is where the duly application form. It is important because it contains admission of wrongdoing),” he said.

He said the duly receive application is important as birth certificate “because we’re talking of three counts of coup d’etat here”.

“You were given primetime coverage when we were in Jordan. Back to reality: where is you duly received application form? It’s simply as that,” Roque said.

Meanwhile, Roque said the decision of former defense secretary Voltaire Gazmin to approve Trillanes’ application for amnesty will serve as additional ground “for the fact that amnesty is void ab initio”.

“The President is a lawyer himself and he has the means to come up with his own legal conclusions. So this is an additional ground that he is invoking, not included in the ground cited by the Solicitor General,” Roque said.

Roque said Duterte, a former fiscal, believes the amnesty must be granted only by the President and not to a delegated official.

“So the position of the President is only the President should have signed the order of amnesty,” he said.

“Gazmin is not a President and that’s why the position of the President is that the amnesty was not properly issued, additionally as an additional ground,” he added.

Duterte said Gazmin has committed “usurpation of authority” when it recommended and approved Trillanes’ application for amnesty.

Roque, a lawyer, said there is no need for the Palace to file a motion on Gazmin’s approval of Trillanes’ amnesty.

“Certainly not because I’m sure the government will be given an opportunity to file its comment and in the comment all these will be used as basis on why, in government’s opinion the amnesty is null and void ab initio, will be invoked by the Republic,” Roque said.

He said “similarly situated individuals” will have similar amnesties that could be declared as being null and void ab initio if it was Gazmin who signed their amnesties.

“But right now, the only being invoked as being null and void ab initio is that of Senator Trillanes. He was the leader of the Oakwood mutineers,” he said.

Roque said since a petition has already been filed “this is now a matter to be resolved by the Philippine Supreme Court”.

He said no proclamation is forthcoming to also declare void ab initio the amnesties granted to other mutineers.