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Trillanes happy with Supreme Court ruling, may leave Senate

Paolo Romero - The Philippine Star
Trillanes happy with Supreme Court ruling, may leave Senate
Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV said he considered the decision some sort of victory since he expected the magistrates to be partial to Duterte.
Jonathan Asuncion / File

MANILA, Philippines — Despite the Supreme Court (SC)’s denial of his petition for temporary restraining order (TRO), Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV was happy with the decision that he said bars President Duterte and the military from arresting him and allows him more freedom to argue his case on the validity of his amnesty before the lower courts.

Trillanes said he has consulted his lawyers on the possibility of breaking out of his self-imposed weeklong confinement in his office at the Senate because of the SC decision that took judicial notice of Duterte’s pronouncement that there will be no arrest until the question on the constitutionality of his revoking the senator’s amnesty is settled.

“It was a carefully worded decision by the Supreme Court. We are grateful that they showed some semblance of independence. They could have outrightly dismissed the petition,” Trillanes told reporters yesterday outside his office shortly after the high tribunal announced its ruling.

“But they (justices) knew that we presented a strong case and the proclamation is badly flawed, but nonetheless they give him a face saving way out, according to my lawyers,” he said.

He said he considered the decision some sort of victory since he expected the magistrates to be partial to Duterte.

“But they took a stand, in some way, so that’s good enough,” Trillanes said.

Duterte signed Proclamation 572 last Aug. 31 revoking the amnesty granted to Trillanes by then president Benigno Aquino III in 2011 for coup-related charges.

The senator said his office will be coordinating with the Armed Forces leadership to make sure they understood the SC ruling in the same way his lawyers did.

He said his “ordeal” is not yet over as Duterte remains hell-bent on persecuting him. He also warned Duterte would be defying the SC if he insists on arresting him.

He said the SC decision passed on to the Makati regional trial courts (RTCs) the factual issues of the case “and gives us more space to summon the witnesses and subpoena the documents that they (Department of National Defense and Armed Forces) have.”

He thanked Senate President Vicente Sotto III for barring any arrest on Senate premises and for allowing him to stay in his office since Duterte’s proclamation was released. 

Some supporters of Trillanes remain camped outside the gates of the Senate after the SC ruling.

Trillanes also asked the Makati RTC Branch 148 to deny the urgent motion of the Department of Justice (DOJ) for the issuance of arrest warrant and hold departure order against him. 

In a 15-page comment signed by Trillanes’ lawyer Reynaldo Robles, it stated that the DOJ’s motion has “no legal or factual basis” as the senator’s criminal liability no longer exists because of the amnesty granted to him. 

Robles also emphasized that the court’s decision on the charges filed against Trillanes was dismissed as early Sept. 21, 2011, which means it cannot be revived or reopened anymore. 

“(We pray) to deny the prosecution’s very urgent ex parte omnibus motion for lack of jurisdiction and/or lack of merit, pursuant to prevailing laws and/or jurisdiction,” Robles said. 

“The instant case having been already dismissed through Honorable Court’s Order dated 21 September 2011, which dismissal and/or termination of the case had already become final and executory nearly seven years ago,” he added. 

Trillanes’ comment against the DOJ’s motion came a few days after state prosecutors filed the motion for issuance of warrant of arrest and departure order against him after Duterte revoked his amnesty. 

Judge Andres Bartolome Soriano, of the Makati RTC Branch 148 has deferred issuing any order against Trillanes, but asked him to comment on the DOJ’s motion and set the first hearing of the case on Thursday.

The DOJ has also filed another motion before Makati RTC Branch 150, but Judge Elmo Alameda did not issue any order against Trillanes as he set the hearing on Friday.

Meanwhile, the Senate minority bloc, to which Trillanes belongs, filed a resolution seeking an investigation into the “fraudulent and erroneous” proclamation of Duterte.

The minority senators said there is need to immediately investigate the matter and enact laws “to ensure that the administration is not using and/or abusing the awesome powers of the presidency and its control over the military and the police to instill fear among critics.”

  “Proclamation No. 572 is apparently being used to silence Senator Trillanes, one of the strongest critics of President Duterte and his administration,” the resolution read. – With Robertzon Ramirez

ANTONIO TRILLANES IV

SUPREME COURT

TEMPORARY RESTRAINING ORDER

TRILLANES AMNESTY

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