MANILA – A video that Senator Antonio Trillanes IV presented to the media to prove that he filed an application for amnesty in 2010 has no bearing, Malacañang said Wednesday.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said Trillanes should instead present valid documents proving that he applied for amnesty and that he admitted under oath his guilt of the crimes of coup d’etat.
“Iyong mga video, wala pong (ibig) sabihin yan dahil ang importante po iyong document mismo (Those videos have no bearing because what’s important is the document itself),” Roque said in an interview over DZRH.
According to Proclamation No. 572 that declared Trillanes’ amnesty void ab initio (from the beginning), Lt. Col. Thea Joan Andrade, Chief of the Discipline, Law and Order Division of the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Personnel, J1, has certified that they have no available copy of the senator’s application for amnesty in their records.
Roque dared Trillanes to seek remedy from the court if the senator believes President Rodrigo Duterte had made a mistake in signing the proclamation.
“Ang pwede niyang gawin ay pumunta sa hukuman at sabihin na mali iyong ginawa ng ehekutibo dahil sa mga kadahilanan na kung talagang siya ang nag-apply at gumamit, ipakita niya iyong document. Ang tawag po diyan iyong best evidence rule (What he should do is go to court and prove to them that what the executive did was wrong because if he really applied, he should show his document. It is called the best evidence rule),” Roque, a lawyer, said.
Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo supported Roque’s challenge, saying the burden of proof is now with Trillanes.
“If he has (an) application but was not submitted in the office, then there is really no record. Therefore, he did not apply,” Panelo explained.
Roque said Trillanes’ offense is not covered by legislative immunity and therefore, nobody can stop law enforcers from serving an arrest warrant against him.
“The immunity of a senator is only for cases that have punishment of six years and one day — like libel case. But since coup d’etat carries life imprisonment, he needs to surrender,” he explained.
Roque denied that Duterte has been resorting to political persecution against his critics, including Trillanes.
He said the President respects the freedom of expression of every Filipino, including personalities from the opposition.
“Si President lamang pag ikaw ay lumabag sa batas pananagutin ka dahil iyan po ang katungkulan ni President, na ipatupad ang ating mga batas (For the President, if you violate the law, you have to be accountable. Because that is the duty of the President, to implement our laws),” Roque said.
He also downplayed Trillanes’ accusation that the release of the proclamation while Duterte is on four-day trip to Israel was an act of cowardice.
“It’s not true because the truth, if I will be asked, it would be better for the President if he is here because he can answer,” he said.
Duterte is scheduled to proceed to Jordan from Israel on Wednesday for another official visit. He is set to return to the country via Davao City on Sunday. PNA-northboundasia.com