Trillanes trial for rebellion reset due to lack of witnesses

Trillanes trial for rebellion reset due to lack of witnesses
Eight years since the court stopped hearing the government’s rebellion case against Sen. Antonio Trillanes, the Makati Regional Trial Court Branch 150 resumed its court proceedings.
File photo

MANILA, Philippines — The Makati court handling the revived rebellion case against former Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV reset its hearing after prosecutors failed to present witnesses.

Makati Regional Trial Court Branch 150 on Tuesday was set to resume the rebellion trial against Trillanes on Tuesday, but Judge Elmo Alameda cancelled the hearing and pushed it back to November 18, 2019 and January 27, 2020.

The prosecution panel was set to present their evidence in the case that stemmed from Trillanes’ participation in the 2007 Manila Peninsula siege.

READ: Makati court resumes Trillanes rebellion trial after eight-year break

An ABS-CBN report said that prosecutors failed to present Metro Manila Development Authority Chairman Danilo Lim and former Bureau of Corrections Director General Nicanor Faeldon as their witnesses.

Faeldon, like Trillanes, was among the mutineers who availed of amnesty from the administration of former President Benigno Aquino III.

 Alameda’s order also noted that the prosecution said that they have yet to communicate with their intended witness, Tina Panganiban-Perez, a TV journalist. Perez was present at the hearing.

“There being no objection from the defense, the hearing today is cancelled,” the order read.

The judge also gave the prosecution ten days to submit a written explanation on why Perez is to be presented as a witness despite her name not being included in the pre-trial order.

Trillanes may file his opposition on the prosecution’s move in ten days.

Amnesty, legal woes

The Makati court revived the trial almost eight years after it dismissed the case against Trillanes citing former President Benigno Aquino III's grant of amnesty to Trillanes and other mutineers.

In 2018, Duterte declared that the amnesty was void from the beginning as the senator did not admit guilt—an admission of guilt was included in the application form for amnesty, which the military says it has no record of Trillanes filing.

Makati RTC Branch 150 found basis on the government's argument and reopened trial, while Makati RTC Branch 148, where the senator was facing a coup d'etat case, junked the government's plea for warrant.

Trillanes has challenged Duterte's Proclamation 572, that declared his amnesty void, before the Supreme Court, but the tribunal has yet to rule on his plea.

Aside from the revived rebellion case, Trillanes is also facing a string of inciting to sedition charges at the Pasay court and another suit pending before prosecutor level at the Department of Justice. — Kristine Joy Patag



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