Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV has been staying in his Senate office since President Rodrigo Duterte issued a proclamation revoking the amnesty granted to him.
The STAR/KJ Rosales
Fact check: Palace claims 'usurpation of authority' committed in granting Trillanes amnesty
Patricia Lourdes Viray ( - September 10, 2018 - 6:15pm

MANILA, Philippines — Moving away from its initial argument that Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV failed to apply for amnesty, Malacañang is now claiming that former President Benigno Aquino III did not properly grant the amnesty to the senator.

President Rodrigo Duterte earlier claimed that the previous administration committed "usurpation of authority" in granting amnesty to Trillanes, a staunch critic of the president.

Expounding Duterte's argument, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said the chief executive believes that amnesty must be personally granted by a president.

"It cannot be further delegated to other officials. It is a presidential prerogative so the position of the president is that only the president should have signed the order of amnesty," Roque said in a press briefing Monday.

While it is true that it was former Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin who signed the certificate of amnesty issued to Trillanes, it was released pursuant to provisions of Proclamation 75.

The certificate reads:

"This is to certify that Senator Antonio F. Trillanes IV was granted on January 21, 2011 for his participation/involvement in the July 27, 2003 Oakwood Mutiny and November 29, 2007 Peninsula Manila Hotel Siege in Makati City, pursuant to the provisions of Presidential Proclamation No. 75 issued on November 24, 2010 by His Excellency, President Benigno S. Aquino III."

Gazmin was acting upon the directive of Aquino's Proclamation 75, which granted amnesty to active and former personnel of the police and the military who were involved in the 2003 Oakwood mutiny, 2006 Marines stand-off and 2007 Manila Peninsula siege.

Aquino's proclamation, which had Congress concurrence, authorized the Department of National Defense to screen approve applicants for amnesty in 2011.

A portion of the proclamation specifically said that, "Now, THEREFORE, I, BENIGNO S. AQUINO III, President of the Philippines, by virtue of the powers vested in me by Section 19, Article VII of the Philippine Constitution, do hereby DECLARE and PROCLAIM — Section 1. Grant of Amnesty."

Section 2 of Proclamation 75 stated that the DND "is hereby tasked with receiving and processing applications – including oppositions thereto, if any – for amnesty pursuant to this proclamation and determining whether the applicants are entitled to amnesty pursuant to this proclamation."

"The final decisions or determination of the DND shall be appealable to the Office of the President by any party to the application. The decision, however, shall be immediately executory even if appealed," it added.

The Duterte's administration's new argument that Aquino did not properly grant the amnesty was also not cited in the president's Proclamation 572, which claimed that Trillanes failed to comply with the minimum requirements for the grant.

Trillanes was able to contradict Malacañang's initial rhetoric by showing a video of him filing the application form and producing DND documents proving that he submitted the application.

Responding to Malacañang's new claim, Aquino said all those given the same amnesty, including those appointed by Duterte, should also be arrested if the amnesty granted to Trillanes was flawed.

Asked about whether the individuals who were granted the same amnesty would suffer the same fate as Trillanes, Roque said the declaration that the grant was void ab initio only applies to the senator.

"That could be the case but, of course, there has to be a declaration that it is null and void ab initio. Without that declaration then I suppose it remains valid," Roque said, adding that such decision would fall under the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court.

As It Happens
LATEST UPDATE: March 20, 2019 - 8:12am

President Rodrigo Duterte has revoked amnesty granted to Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV in 2011 in relation to his involvement in mutinies against the administration of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in 2003, 2006 and 2007.

Duterte claims in Proclamation 572 that Trillanes "did not comply with the minimum requirements to qualify under the Amnesty Proclamation."

President Benigno Aquino III granted the amnesty through a proclamation in 2010 that Congress concurred in.

The amnesty proclamation covered active and former police and military personnel and "[extinguished] any criminal liability for acts committed in connection, incident or related to the July 27, 2003 Oakwood Mutiny, the February 2006 Marines Stand-Off and the November 29, 2007 Peninsula Manila Hotel Incident without prejudice to the grantee’s civil liability for injuries or damages caused to private persons."

Trillanes, a lieutenant, senior grade, at the time of the Oakwood Mutiny, applied for amnesty in 2011. 

March 20, 2019 - 8:12am

The continuation of Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV's trial for a rebellion case has been moved to May as the Court of Appeals denies his petition for a TRO against it.

The CA denied the petition for TRO for the trial at Makati RTC Br. 150 saying doing so would mean granting the main prayer without trial.

The court has also directed Makati RTC Br. 150 Judge Elmo Alameda to comment on Trillanes' petition.

The rebellion case is over Trillanes' participation in the 2007 Manila Peninsula siege, for which amnesty was granted in 2011. President Rodrigo Duterte has voided the amnesty.

November 26, 2018 - 4:13pm

The Department of Justice has transmitted to the Office of the Solicitor General the order by Makati Regional Trial Court Branch 148 denying its motion for reconsideration on an earlier decision not to issue an arrest warrant for Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV over a coup d'etat case it dismissed in 2011.

The court has stood firm on its decision that Trillanes applied for amnesty and acknowledged guilt in mutinies against the Arroyo administration.

It also stood by the same decision that found that Proclamation 75, which voided Trillanes' amnesty, is legal and is within the president's powers to issue.

"We are transmitting the Joint Order for your office to consider the filing a petition for certiorari with the higher courts witin the time allowed by the Rules of court, " Senior Deputy State Prosecutor Richard Fadullon, OIC prosecutor general, says in his letter.

Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo had initially said Solicitor General Jose Calida would go straight to the Court of Appeals and not wait for the Makati court to reconsider. 

October 23, 2018 - 5:24pm

The Department of Justice will file a motion for partial consideration at Makati RTC Branch 148 by Friday, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra tells reporters.

The motion will only ask the court to reconsider "only insofar as it found that sen trillanes had sufficiently shown that he filed his certificate of amnesty, and that therefore it follows that he also admitted his guilt."

The Palace had earlier said Solicitor General Jose Calida was already preparing a petition questioning the Makati court's resolution before the Court of Appeals.

October 22, 2018 - 3:49pm

Lawyer Rhodora Peralta, Makati RTC Br148 clerk of court, confirms that Judge Andres Soriano has issued a resolution on a Department Justice plea to issue a warrant of arrest against Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV.

She says they will not give out copies until parties of the case receive the resolution first.

She refuses to give details on what the resolution says.

October 19, 2018 - 5:20pm
A week since proceedings have been wrapped up, Makati Regional Trial Court Branch 148 Clerk of Court Rhodora Peralta is quoted in a report by PTV4 as saying that the resolution may be released “most likely Monday” (October 22). Judge Andres Soriano is determining—pursuant to a ruling by the Supreme Court—the factual issues involved in President Rodrigo Duterte’s Proclamation 572 that declared Trillanes’ amnesty “void from the beginning” due to the senator’s alleged non-compliance with requirements.
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