Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra gave this assessment yesterday as he said the DOJ would elevate to higher courts its bid for the arrest of Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV after President Duterte’s order revoking his amnesty on coup d’etat and rebellion cases was rejected by a Makati regional trial court (RTC) yesterday.
Krizjohn Rosales
DOJ chief Menardo Guevarra: 'This is not the end'
Edu Punay (The Philippine Star) - October 23, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — This is not the end, but merely the beginning of a legal battle that the Department of Justice (DOJ) hopes to win.

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra gave this assessment yesterday as he said the DOJ would elevate to higher courts its bid for the arrest of Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV after President Duterte’s order revoking his amnesty on coup d’etat and rebellion cases was rejected by a Makati regional trial court (RTC) yesterday.

At a press conference, said he would discuss with the prosecution team their next move on the coup d’etat case against Trillanes after Makati RTC Branch 148 denied their motion for the issuance of an arrest warrant and hold departure order against the opposition senator.

To bring both the coup d’etat and rebellion cases to the Court of Appeals or even up to the Supreme Court (SC) is inevitable for both camps, according to Guevarra, after Makati RTC Branches 148 and 150 issued conflicting rulings despite having the same evidence.

“The cases at Makati RTC Branch 148 and Branch 150 are essentially the same, but the judges had different appreciation. Both parties may elevate the rulings to a higher court,” he explained.

Guevarra also belittled the ruling of Makati RTC Branch 148, which Trillanes considered as a legal victory.

“Nobody can claim total victory in this ruling of Makati RTC Branch 148. The RTCs were simply directed by the SC to resolve factual issues which are instrumental to the case in the SC. So we are done in that stage,” Guevarra said.

Trillanes has filed a petition before the SC questioning Proclamation 572.

The SC denied his plea for a temporary restraining order and instead allowed the RTC to resolve factual issues on the case first.

Legal options

Malacañang is studying its legal options after the Makati RTC’s decision.

Presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo said that while the Duterte administration respects the court’s ruling, the DOJ and the Office of the Solicitor General would look into possible remedies with regard to Trillanes’ case.

“The Palace respects the constitutional independence of the judiciary and it will continue to do so. As we have said, the executive branch has and will always bow down to the majesty of the law, and it will not think twice in doing the same for this particular case,” Panelo said in a statement.

“The Office of the President will not preempt the Department of Justice or the Office of the Solicitor General from deciding which legal course it deems necessary to undertake relative to the case. Accordingly, we will leave it to these offices to evaluate the available remedies as well as to determine which steps may be endeavored before the appropriate courts of law,” he added.

Panelo said the ruling of the court suggests that Trillanes’ case is unique. Panelo claimed that the first jeopardy has not yet been validly terminated since the dismissal of the case for coup d’etat was based on a void executive grant. – With Emmanuel Tupas

ANTONIO TRILLANES IV DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE MENARDO GUEVARRA
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