Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV, through his lawyer, filed a 36-page petition for prohibition and certiorari, seeking a temporary restraining order (TRO) to stop the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) from arresting him under Proclamation No. 572.
Trillanes runs to Supreme Court in fight vs Duterte order
Edu Punay (The Philippine Star) - September 7, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Claiming political harassment by the President he relentlessly attacks, Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV yesterday sought relief from the Supreme Court (SC) to question the order for his arrest.

Trillanes, through his lawyer, filed a 36-page petition for prohibition and certiorari, seeking a temporary restraining order (TRO) to stop the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) from arresting him under Proclamation No. 572.

Trillanes also asked the SC to declare as null and void the proclamation for alleged violation of the Constitution.

The senator argued the proclamation specifically violated the constitutional grant of “shared power” between the executive and legislative branches in issuance and withdrawal of amnesty grant.

“The power to grant amnesty is not just the sole prerogative of the executive. Under the Constitution, this power, to be validly exercised, requires concurrence of both houses of Congress,” Trillanes said, citing Article VII, Section 19 of the 1987 Constitution.

He claimed the presidential order was a form of political harassment that violates his rights to due process and equal protection since it “singled out and specifically targeted” him, which showed “illicit and malicious” purpose of the order.

Trillanes also alleged that the assailed proclamation violated the rule on double jeopardy since the cases against him were already dismissed by the courts.

Makati Regional Trial Court branches 148 and 150, according to Trillanes, “both dismissed on the basis of the amnesty granted to petitioner... long after the petitioner was arraigned in both cases, the same constitute the dismissal on the merits of these two cases, which have long become final and executory.”

The assailed order struck down Amnesty Proclamation No. 75 issued by former president Benigno Aquino III insofar as it absolved Trillanes of criminal liability in uprisings against former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

The three-page proclamation, which took effect last Tuesday, specifically ordered the AFP and PNP to “apprehend” the opposition senator and recommit him to the detention facility where he had been incarcerated prior to the grant of amnesty in 2011.

It also directed the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the AFP court martial “to pursue all criminal and administrative cases” filed against Trillanes in relation to the Oakwood mutiny in 2003 and Manila Peninsula siege in 2007.

Trillanes submitted to the SC documents that he said would prove that he met the requirements of his amnesty, particularly submission of formal application and express admission of guilt on crimes charges.

However, Trillanes was not able to submit the actual application form that was reportedly “missing” from the records of the AFP.

Named respondents in the petition were Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, Interior Secretary Eduardo Año, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra, AFP chief Gen. Carlito Galvez Jr. and PNP chief Director General Oscar Albayalde.

The SC is set to tackle the petition in its session next Tuesday, Sept. 11. 

His lawyer, Reynaldo Robles said they decided to seek relief from the SC even when they were told that the opposition senator might not be able to secure a favorable ruling since most of the justices are allegedly “allies of Duterte.”

“But I don’t believe in that. I believe that the justices of the Supreme Court and the judges in the trial court would act if they see this abuse and assault on our Constitution and defend our rights,” Robles said.

Robles said they are hoping the SC would issue a favorable ruling, saying the case has adverse legal repercussions.

“They are trying to arrest a senator without a warrant of arrest issued by a court. If this (was) done to a senator, then it would be done to anybody. Our freedom is in danger,” he said.

A moral decision

Trillanes said the AFP is in a dilemma over how to implement the order for his arrest.

According to Trillanes, he has been receiving “expressions of support” from active and retired members of the AFP, the institution which he served before joining politics in 2007.

He said the military men, including officers, are definitely in conflict because they are aware what is happening is purely political.

“They do not want to do anything extra-constitutional at this point. They are extremely bothered by this political move of this commander-in-chief who is putting them in a compromising position. At some point, some people will make a moral decision,” Trillanes said.

In Proclamation 572 issued by President Duterte, the PNP and the AFP were ordered to arrest Trillanes after the amnesty granted to him by the previous administration was revoked.

The Duterte administration claimed the amnesty granted to Trillanes was void from the start because he allegedly did not comply with the requirements set under the law.

Since the proclamation came out on Tuesday, the military police have been on standby around the Senate premises, along with policemen from the PNP’s Criminal Investigation and Detection Group. 

The AFP has also stated Trillanes would again be subjected to court martial proceedings despite being long resigned from the service.

Trillanes said members of the AFP are concerned about how they are being forced to be complicit in what he described as an illegal act by the administration.

Trillanes has stated the popularity of the President is waning and the public is slowly realizing that he is not what they thought he would be for the country.

With this latest move by the administration, which he said is reminiscent of the martial law regime of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, Trillanes said the public is now even more enlightened about Duterte as yet another dictator.

“All of these will be gone, believe me, sooner than later. I seriously doubt (Duterte) would finish his term,” Trillanes said.

Trillanes warned the officials of the government, the police and military about being complicit in the illegal orders of the President because once he is no longer in power, they would all have to answer for their crimes.

He warned he would personally run after each and every one of those who have been supporting the efforts to arrest him.

“When the time comes, when Duterte is no longer in power, I will go after them if they insist on pursuing this foolishness. It would be my career,” Trillanes said.

Trillanes said he would continue to stay within the Senate where he has been guaranteed protection from being arrested.

He said his decision was not about evading arrest, but to show to the world the oppression under the Duterte administration.

“I want to show that Duterte is a symbol of oppression. If I surrender voluntarily now, will I still be able to speak? Will I still be able to present my evidence? No. This will all be covered up and they will say, this is now with the courts,” Trillanes said.

Vice President Leni Robredo said the revocation of the amnesty of Trillanes is a form of harassment that would further unify the opposition.

“It gives us a reason to be united,” Robredo told reporters in Filipino while denouncing the revocation of the amnesty as a form of harassment aimed at silencing critics of the government. – With Marvin Sy, Delon Porcalla, Janvic Mateo

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