Court gives DOJ time to answer Trillanes pleading vs arrest


No warrant issued for now

MANILA, Philippines — Makati Regional Trial Court Branch 150 on Friday morning deferred the decision on whether it will issue a warrant for the arrest of Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV, whose amnesty for mutinies against the Arroyo administration has been voided by President Rodrigo Duterte's Proclamation 572.

The court instead gave the Department of Justice five days to reply to an opposition that Trillanes filed Friday morning. The senator will have five days from the time the DOJ files its reply to file a rejoinder.

Once both camps have had a chance to reply, the case will be deemed up for resolution.

On Thursday, Makati RTC Branch 148 also gave parties time to file pleadings on a similar motion seeking a warrant of arrest and hold-departure order against the senator.

READ: No warrant as court gives Trillanes, DOJ more time for pleadings

Proclamation 572 voids Trillanes' amnesty over his supposed failure to comply with requirements for the amnesty. The government says it does not have a copy of his application form, and says that means he never applied for amnesty.

This, even though Trillanes' filing of the application was covered by media in 2011 and is supported by government documents referencing his application. 

Rebellion case at Makati RTC Branch 150

The case lodged before Makati RTC Branch 150 is a rebellion case against Trillanes over his involvement in the 2007 Manila Peninsula siege.

Trillanes lawyer Reynaldo Robles said the court — in a decision penned Judge Elmo Alameda, the same judge now hearing the DOJ motion —  had junked the case in 2011 because of the amnesty grant.

During the hearing, the judge and prosecutors agreed that the case had already been dismissed, but Acting Prosecutor Richard Fadullon said that that the amnesty that led to the dismissal was voided through President Rodrigo Duterte’s Proclamation 572.

Fadullon said that the court had not known then that Trillanes had not complied with the requirements. The senator has disputed the government's assertion and has said his Certificate of Amnesty would not have been issued if he had not complied with the requirements in Proclamation 75 that granted amnesty. 

Robles countered that his client had filed the application form, and a petition questioning the constitutionality of Proclamation 572 is pending before the SC.

But Alameda said that the SC had ordered the trial court to delve into factual matters involved in the proclamation.

READ: SC junks Trillanes' TRO plea vs Duterte proclamation

'Video not authenticated evidence'

During the hearing, Alameda allowed both parties to present evidence to support their arguments.

Fadullon presented a certificate signed by Lt. Col. Thea Joan Andrade, chief of the military's Discipline, Law and Order Division, that says Trillanes’ records cannot be found.

Robles tried to file a video showing that Trillanes filed an application form and that it was received by a certain Col. Josefa Berbigal as evidence.

But Alameda pointed out that the video is not authenticated.

“The court needs the actual application form,” the judge also said, adding that this would be the primary evidence in the case.

Robles: Missing form not proof Trillanes did not apply

Robles said that they could not locate the form. He added that the certificate submitted by the state prosecution “does not prove that my client did not apply.”

“Records of the Department of National Defense will show that he applied,” the lawyer also said.

He added that they have circumstantial evidence that would prove that the senator did apply for amnesty, such as the amnesty certificate, photos published by the Philippine Daily Inquirer of Trilanes holding his application form, and a memorandum to the DND Ad Hoc Committee that handled amnesty applications.

As for the authentication of the video, Robles said that they will try to secure an affidavit from Berbigal.

Fadullon said that they will attach more evidence to their Reply on Trillanes’ opposition.

'Do you still have your application for a driver's license?'

In a chance interview after the hearing, Robles said they are still looking for a copy of the actual application form but said that there is secondary evidence that his client applied for amnesty.

"Almost 90 percent dito, may lisensiya. Nasa inyo ba yung application ng lisensiya niyo (Almost 90 percent of us here have driver's licenses. Do you have a copy of your application form)?" he said.

He also said that with most transactions with government, applicants are only given claim stubs. He said that Trillanes' Certificate of Amnesty is similarly a proof of the transaction.

The lawyer maintained confidence that the secondary evidence that they presented in the case is sufficient to argue their case.

No warrant yet for either case

The issue has not been discussed during Friday’s hearing that lasted for over an hour.

State prosecutors also failed to secure a warrant and travel ban on Thursday. Makati RTC Branch 148 Judge Andres Soriano also gave both parties time to submit pleadings.

Senior Assistant State Prosecutor Juan Pedro Navera in a chance interview on Thursdaysaid that the case against Trillanes is still developing.

Should the senator’s camp raise new arguments, prosecutors would explore other areas to focus on. — Kristine Joy Patag

RELATED: DOJ sticks to Proclamation 572 at Makati RTC 148 hearing





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