DOJ set to appeal RTC ruling on Trillanes case

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MANILA — Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra on Tuesday said government lawyers will be filing within the week the necessary pleadings to ask Makati Regional Trial Court Branch 148 Judge Andres Soriano to take a second look at his order in connection with the criminal charges against Senator Antonio Trillanes IV.

“The DOJ (Department of Justice) will file, not later than Friday, a motion for partial reconsideration of the order of RTC-Makati Branch 148 (coup d’ etat) only insofar as it found that Sen. Trillanes had sufficiently shown that he filed his certificate of amnesty, and that therefore it follows that he also admitted his guilt for the offense of coup d’ etat and recanted all statements inconsistent with such admission of guilt,” Guevarra told reporters.

Presidential Spokesperson and Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo earlier said Solicitor General Jose Calida intends to file ‘very soon’ a petition seeking the reversal of the decision before the Court of Appeals (CA).

Soriano earlier claimed he no longer had jurisdiction over the case against Trillanes under the legal doctrine of immutability of a final judgment, thus he cannot validly order his arrest as sought by prosecutors or issue a hold departure order anymore.

In the same order, however, Soriano said there is “no basis to believe that Proclamation 572 has breached any constitutional guaranty or that it has encroached on the constitutional power of either the judicial and executive branch”.

Soriano said that while he may no longer order Trillanes arrest, a future situation may be more favorable to the government’s cause.

“Meanwhile, the law is vibrant. Jurisprudence is its lifeblood. Subsequent jurisprudence may forge new horizons in which exceptions to the immutability of a final and executory judgment may be born,” Soriano said in the same order.

The magistrate said that in voiding the grant of amnesty to Trillanes, Proclamation 572 “merely sought to correct what the executive branch perceives to be an erroneous grant of amnesty to Trillanes, who allegedly did not apply for amnesty and who failed to admit guilt and/or participation and involvement in, among others, the Oakwood Mutiny, and/or otherwise failed to recant previous statements contrary to such admissions.”

Proclamation 572, signed by President Rodrigo Duterte on Aug. 31, declared Trillanes’ amnesty void ab initio (from the beginning). (PNA)

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