AFP: Lapses possible in handling of Trillanes amnesty papers

Kristine Joy Patag - Philstar.com

MANILA, Philippines — Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV on Tuesday did not hold back from asking the country’s top defense officials on his missing application for amnesty.

President Rodrigo Duterte declared the amnesty granted to the senator, one of his fiercest critics, as "void from the beginning" for Trillanes' supposed non-compliance with amnesty application requirements.

The proclamation also said the military "has no available copy of his application for amnesty in the records." Trillanes' filing of his application for amnesty in 2011 was heavily covered by media and is supported by documents based on the application and by the military officer who processed it.

On Tuesday, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana and Gen. Carlito Galvez, Armed Forces of the Philippines chief of staff, went before the Senate Committee on Finance  for a budget hearing.

Trillanes barrelled through and asked if the officials whether he applied for an amnesty.

Lorenzana: Before my time

Lorenzana said that he is “not knowledgeable” on the senator’s application as it happened long before he was Defense chief. He was head of the Office of Veterans Affairs at the Philippine Embassy in Washington, D.C. at the time.

Lorenzana repeated that he received a call from Solicitor General Jose Calida “asking for amnesty records of Trillanes, et al.” Lorenzana said that he told the solicitor general that a member of Calida's staff could coordinate with his staff on the matter.

Galvez: There may have been some lapses

Galvez, meanwhile said, that they reached out to the AdHoc Committee on the matter “to shed light [on] this missing document.”

He said that there may have been “some lapses”  and that documents were not properly transmitted from J1, or the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Personnel.

“The old papers [were not] brought down pabalik sa GHQ (back to General Headquarters),” he added.

“Kaya po si [Lt. Col. Thea Joan] Andrade walang nakitang papel, apparently ang suspicion po namin sir, ang repository ay hindi naibaba sa GHQ,” he added.

(That may be why Andrade did not find the paper, apparently, our suspicion is the repository was not brought to GHQ)

Proclamation 572 cited Andrade’s certification that “there is no available copy of his application for amnesty in the records.”

Galvez: Berbigal said Trillanes applied for amnesty

Sen. Panfilo Lacson briefly reminded Trillanes that they may be veering away from the budget deliberation, which is the purpose of the hearing, but he allowed Trillanes to continue his questioning.

Trillanes asked again in Filipino: “Did I apply for amnesty?”

Galvez then referred to the affidavit issued by Col. Josefa Berbigal that “according to her,” the senator applied for amnesty.

In a press briefing Thursday afternoon, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque inisted on the government's position that since there is no copy of Trillanes' application form, he did not apply for amnesty.

Trillanes was arrested over Proclamation 572 last week, as Makati Regional Trial Court Branch 150 revived his rebellion case and granted the Department of Justice's motion for a warrant and hold departure order. The senator is due to attend a hearing on the rebellion case in November.

Makati RTC Branch 148, however, opted to defer ruling on the DOJ's motion and instead set a hearing on Friday, October 3, to allow both parties to present their evidence.

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