Trillanes can’t invoke legislative immunity: DOJ chief

MANILA – Department of Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra on Tuesday said opposition Senator Antonio Trillanes cannot invoke legislative immunity after President Rodrigo Duterte moved to revoke the grant of amnesty given to him.

In an interview over CNN Philippines, Guevarra said “immunity from suit while Congress is in session pertains only to offenses where the imposable penalty does not exceed six years.”

Guevarra earlier told Palace reporters that the amnesty revocation does not need concurrence of Congress because it was void ab initio.

The opposition solon, Guevarra added, also cannot appeal or file a motion for reconsideration to reverse the Chief Executive’s order.

“No, because this is not a court matter. This is something that pertains to the President’s power of executive clemency. As far as formal pleadings like motion for reconsideration are in court, that does not apply,” he said. “Because this is not a judicial matter, this is an executive matter because it pertains to executive clemency.”

He added that the revocation is final and executory for now.

Guevarra said the basis for revocation was due to Trillanes’ failure to apply for the amnesty in line with the Oakwood mutiny in 2003 and Manila Peninsula siege in 2007 that he and his fellow soldiers from Magdalo spearheaded against former President and now House Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

“No. 2, you have to admit what you have done and to be sorry for it. In other words, you have make to confession and admit that you are wrong, something to that effect. Everything is in there in the proclamation,” the DOJ chief said in a separate interview.

Based on the Proclamation No. 572 signed by Duterte on August 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 November 29, 2007 Manila Peninsula incident.

When asked if arrest is forthcoming against Trillanes, Guevarra replied: “I guess since he has a pending criminal case at the Regional Trial Court”.

“I think there was an ongoing military tribunal or court martial proceedings at that time. then, I think all these will have to proceed and if taking him into custody is an automatic effect of that then so be it,” he added.

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