Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV seen inside his residence in Antipolo as The Makati Regional Trial Court handles continuation of his coup d'état case hearing on Friday, Oct. 5, 2018.
The STAR/Michael Varcas
Witness: Only one application form given to applicants for amnesty
Kristine Joy Patag ( - October 5, 2018 - 6:19pm

MANILA, Philippines — Col. Josefa Berbigal, the Department of National Defense officer who received the application of Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV, testified on Friday that there was only one form given to all those who applied for amnesty.

In an open court hearing on the Department of Justice’s plea for warrant and hold departure order against Trillanes, Berbigal was presented as one of the witnesses from the camp of the senator.

Lawyer Reynaldo Robles asked Berbigal, head of AdHoc secretariat, if Trillanes left the form he filled out with her.

Berbigal answered in the affirmative during the hearing at the Makati Regional Trial Court Branch 148. She stressed that all applicants were given “only one form to file.”

Where is the original application form?

During Friday’s hearing at Makati RTC Branch 148, there were conflicting statements from Trillanes' witnesses as Berbigal said that the original application form was transmitted to former Undersecretary Honorio Azcueta, head of the AdHoc Committee.

Azcueta, who took the witness stand next to Berbigal, however said that the original application was sent back to the secretariat which Berbigal heads.

“I don’t maintain records,” Azcueta said.

The AdHoc Committee head also said that as far as he knows, “there are no duplicate copies” of the application form, which is in contrast with Berbigal’s testimony that the secretariat made copies of the application form to be used by the committee for deliberation of applications.

Robles also asked the former defense official if, to this day, he believes that Trillanes complied with all the requirements for amnesty. Azcueta answered in the affirmative.

The conflicting statements were later brought up by Acting Prosecutor General Richard Fadullon. “There is a pingpong,” he said.

But Robles said that it does not matter where the application form was transmitted since the court was also delving into factual matters, which include whether or not Trillanes applied for amnesty.

Both Berbigal and Azcueta testified that they deemed Trillanes to had complied with all the requirements for amnesty application.

Makati RTC Branch 150

In a separate court hearing at the Makati RTC Branch 150, Trillanes’ filled-out application form was considered as the primary evidence. Robles said that the senator could not locate the form.

Judge Elmo Alameda of Makati RTC Branch 150 said that Trillanes “failed to convince the Court that he indeed complied with the minimum requirement” in applying for amnesty.

“Evidently, he failed to present the original hard copy, duplicate copy, or even a photocopy showing that he personally accomplished and filed with the DND Amnesty Committee his Official Amnesty Application Form duly acknowledged and stamp marked received by said office,” the court order read.

Robles, in a separate interview with reporters after the hearing, said that they already filed a motion for reconsideration before Makati RTC Branch 150.

Court to wrap up proceedings next week

Judge Andres Soriano, at the start of the hearing, earlier said that he intended to finish the proceedings of the case involving Trillanes on Friday, noting the “sensitivity of the case.”

Soriano said that he did not “want to force" himself for resolution, citing that there are “sensitive consideration that must be studied closely.”

After both parties presented witnesses—five for the prosecution then four for Trillanes’ camp—Soriano said that Robles may submit a formal offer of exhibits (pieces of evidence) until Tuesday, October 9.

The prosecution, meanwhile, is given 24 hours to file their comment.

“Thereafter, the Offer shall be considered submitted for resolution,” Soriano added.

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