Former Bayan Muna party-list representative Neri Colmenares said granting the petition of the Department of Justice (DOJ) to issue an arrest warrant against Trillanes would have serious implications on the country’s democratic system.
Critics warn vs issuance of Trillanes warrant
Emmanuel Tupas (The Philippine Star) - October 21, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Critics warned of dire consequences in the event the Makati City Regional Trial Court Branch 148 issues an adverse decision on Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV.

Former Bayan Muna party-list representative Neri Colmenares said granting the petition of the Department of Justice (DOJ) to issue an arrest warrant against Trillanes would have serious implications on the country’s democratic system.

“That will be a blow to the respect of law and justice,” Colmenares said in a news forum at the University of the Philippines Hotel in Quezon City.

Trillanes is facing charges of coup d’etat, a non-bailable offense, before Makati RTC Branch 148. The senator is also facing charges of rebellion in a separate court where he was granted bail.

Colmenares said an adverse decision from the court will also have a negative impact on the peace process of the government.

He said rebel groups would now think twice before seeking amnesty.

Makati RTC Branch 148 Judge Andres Soriano has yet to rule on the DOJ’s petition after President Duterte revoked the amnesty given to Trillanes by his predecessor, former president Benigno Aquino III.

Duterte issued Proclamation No. 572 voiding the amnesty granted to Trillanes on the grounds the senator allegedly failed to comply with the requirements.

Colmenares said an unfavorable ruling on Trillanes will have legal complications for other individuals who were granted and rebels seeking amnesty.

“This would mean any amnesty, license or passport issued by the government can be revoked anytime the applicant cannot produce any document showing the application form,” he said.

Colmenares stressed it is wrong for the government to pin the blame on Trillanes for not producing a copy of his amnesty application form.

“They cannot compel him to produce the application form. If they cannot find it, it’s their problem,” he said.

At same forum, Gabriela party-list Rep. Emmi De Jesus agreed, adding that there would be no stopping Duterte from running after his perceived enemies.

It also has political consequences as other rebels might have second thoughts on seeking  amnesty if it can be voided by anyone who sits in Malacañang, she said.

Meanwhile, the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians has reiterated its call for the immediate release of Sen. Leila de Lima from detention.

The IPU also expressed its concern over the repeal of Trillanes’ amnesty, which it said was meant to silence yet another critic of the Duterte administration.

In separate draft decisions issued by the committee during the recently concluded 139th IPU Assembly in Geneva, Switzerland, the cases of De Lima and Trillanes were taken up because of the alleged human rights violations committed against them by the Duterte administration.

Regarding the case of De Lima, the IPU committee recommended the governing council should adopt the decision stating that De Lima should be released from detention immediately and all legal proceedings against her should be abandoned, “given that no serious evidence appears to be forthcoming.”

It reiterated the actions taken against De Lima were in response to her vocal opposition to Duterte’s war on drugs and her denunciation of his alleged responsibility for extrajudicial killings.

The committee recommended that an observer be sent to Manila to monitor and report on respect for fair trial standards in her case.

In the case of Trillanes, the IPU committee aired its deep concern that he is facing renewed charges of rebellion and coup d’etat for incidents that took place in 2003 and 2007, respectively, in spite of the fact that he was already granted amnesty for the offenses.

“Fears that the sudden questioning of his amnesty, seven years after the amnesty procedure was properly completed and the exclusive preoccupation of President Duterte’s Proclamation No. 572 with Senator Trillanes’ situation, when other individuals were likewise amnestied in connection with the same events, give serious weight to the allegation that this is a targeted attempt to silence Senator Trillanes,” the committee stated in its draft decision.

The committee sought to secure detailed information from the relevant authorities on the factual and legal grounds justifying Proclamation No. 572.

It also recommended the sending of a trial observer to closely monitor the legal proceedings with regard to their compliance with international fair trial guarantees.

In both De Lima’s and Trillanes’ cases, the committee aired its regret on how “the parliamentary authorities chose not to respond to the invitation by the Committee on Human Rights of Parliamentarians to meet with the Filipino delegation at the 139th IPU Assembly.” – With Marvin Sy

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