Calida insists Trillanes has no application for amnesty

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MANILA — Solicitor General Jose Calida insisted that Senator Antonio Trillanes IV has no copies of his application for amnesty and of record manifesting his admission of guilt for the crimes of rebellion he committed during the time of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

“There is no document or record evincing his admission of guilt or narrating the facts of his involvement or participation in the July 27, 2003, February 2006, or November 29, 2007 incidents. There is no proof of his recantation of all his previous statements that are inconsistent with his admission of actual involvement and guilt,” Calida said in a statement.

Calida said Trillanes deceived the trial courts into granting his motions to dismiss the coup d’etat and rebellion charges against him on the false premise that he had already complied with all the requirements to be eligible for amnesty.

“Thus, the grant of the amnesty to him through the Department of National Defense Ad Hoc Committee Resolution No. 2 is void,” Calida said.

Last Aug. 31, President Rodrigo Duterte issued Proclamation 572 declaring voided ab initio the amnesty granted to Trillanes by his predecessor President Benigno Aquino III in 2010.

Calida said Trillianes had failed to meet the minimum requirements under Proclamation No. 75 issued by Aquino.

“Proclamation No. 572 finds its basis on petitioner’s [Trillianes] failure to fulfill the minimum requirements to qualify under the amnesty proclamation. Despite this omission, petitioner was wrongfully included among those covered with the grant of amnesty. In revoking his coverage under Proclamation No. 75, the President was merely performing his constitutional duty,” Calida said.

Calida said that when Trillianes applied for amnesty, the people expected that he would comply with the requirements for the grant, exactly like how the everyman was expected to follow the law and the rules every day.

“Amnesty presupposes the commission of a crime. One must admit guilt before the state may grant an applicant forgiveness. Having failed to comply with these requirements, petitioner is therefore not entitled to the benefits of amnesty,” Calida said.

Calida said Trillianes refused to admit the charges of coup d’etat and rebellion against him.

“His public statements that the criminal charges filed against him were improper further confirm his non-admission of guilt. Moreover, he failed to comply with the requirements enumerated under Proclamation No. 75, Concurrent Resolution No. 4, and the Order of the Regional Trial Court of Makati-Branch 148,” he said.

Calida said Article 5 of the Civil Code provides that non-compliance with mandatory laws such as Proclamation No. 75 voided the amnesty act, hence, “President Rodrigo Roa Duterte aptly invoked the faithful execution clause under the Constitution and his ordinance powers and issued Proclamation No. 572, declaring the coverage of the petitioner under Proclamation No. 75, void.”

Aquino granted amnesty to active and former personnel of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, the Philippine National Police, and their supporters who may have committed crimes punishable under the Revised Penal Code, the Articles of War, and other laws in connection with the Oakwood Mutiny, the Marines Stand-Off, and the Manila Peninsula incident.

The DND Ad Hoc Committee was tasked to receive and process applications for amnesty and determine whether the applicants were entitled to amnesty.

The House of Representatives and the Senate concurred with Proclamation No. 75 on December 13 and 14, 2010, respectively, by issuing Concurrent Resolution No. 4, which required: “No application for amnesty shall be given due course without the applicant admitting his guilt or criminal culpability of any or all of the subject incidents in writing as expressed in the application….”

On Dec. 16, 2010, Trillianes and co-accused James Layug and Gary Alejano urgently moved for the suspension of the promulgation of judgment in Criminal Case No. 03-2784 for coup d’etat scheduled on the same day by the Makati Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 148 because of Proclamation No. 75 which rendered the subject motion for cancellation academic.

The Makati RTC Branch 148 granted the urgent motion but required petitioner and co-accused to provide copies of their respective written applications for amnesty submitted to the DND Ad Hoc Committee on or before January 22, 2011.

Trillianes and the other accused, however, did not comply with this requirement, according to Calida.

Last week, Calida asked Trillanes to apologize for accusing the SolGen of stealing the lawmakers’ amnesty application documents.

“Unless Mr. Trillanes expresses his sincere apology for calling me a thief, I shall be constrained to file a criminal case for libel plus damages against him,” Calida said in a press statement.

Makati RTC Branch 150 Judge Elmo Alameda cited the “missing” application document as the main reason in granting the government prosecutor’s plea to issue an arrest warrant and hold departure order against Trillanes on Aug. 27.

Calida defended Duterte’s issuance of Proclamation 572, saying the Chief Executive was only implementing the law.

“The President’s act of revoking the coverage of the petitioner under Proclamation No. 75 through Proclamation No. 572 is in line with his mandate to ensure that all laws are faithfully executed and his ordinance power,” Calida said.

He said Section 17, Article VII of the Constitution provides that the president shall ensure that all laws are faithfully executed. “Thus, the President has the power to take ‘necessary and proper steps’ to carry into execution the law,” he said. –PNA

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