DOJ files arrest warrant, HDO motion vs. TrillanesPosted on
MANILA — The Department of Justice (DOJ) on Tuesday filed a motion for the issuance of an alias warrant of arrest and hold departure order (HDO) before the Makati City Regional Trial Court against Senator Antonio Trillanes, after the amnesty given to him was revoked by President Rodrigo Duterte.
The four-page motion was filed by officer-in-charge (OIC) Prosecutor General Richard Anthony Fadullon, Senior Assistant State Prosecutor Juan Pedro Navera and Assistant State Prosecutor Mary Jane Sytat following Duterte’s issuance of Proclamation No. 572, which revokes the Department of National Defense Ad Hoc Committee Resolution No. 2 issued on January 31, 2011 insofar the amnesty granted to Trillanes.
In seeking the issuance of an HDO and an alias warrant, the DOJ noted that the case of coup d’etat against Trillanes has yet to be terminated by the court despite the issuance of Proclamation No. 75 issued by former President Benigno Aquino III which granted him amnesty.
The Makati RTC Branch 148 merely granted the motion of Trillanes to cancel the promulgation by reason of Proclamation No. 75, according to Navera.
“It is clear that this instant case is still pending with this Honorable Court and has yet to be terminated through a promulgation of judgment which was merely suspended last December 16, 2010,” the motion read.
“Accused Trillanes is an incumbent Senator of the Republic. He has the means and resources to flee to another country in order to escape Philippine criminal jurisdiction. It is therefore imperative that a hold departure order be issued directing the Commissioner of the Bureau of Immigration (BI) to prevent him from leaving the Philippines during the pendency of this case,” the DOJ said
Navera said once Trillanes is arrested, the DOJ would ask the court to set the date for the promulgation of the decision.
Trillanes, a former Navy lieutenant, is facing charges, including coup d’état, for leading uprisings against the government in 2003 and 2007, during the administration of then President and now House Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
These include mutiny at the Oakwood Premiere Hotel in Makati on July 27, 2003 and the Manila Peninsula siege on November 29, 2007.
In a press conference, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra reiterated that Trillanes cannot use his legislative immunity from suit in order to prevent his arrest and incarceration.
Trillanes, according to Guevarra, can only invoke his legislative immunity if his case is meted with a penalty of six years imprisonment or lower.
The coup d’état case that was filed against the senator is a non-bailable offense and has a penalty of life imprisonment if found guilty.
However, Trillanes can be taken into custody by the Senate but if the provision of Proclamation 572 will be followed, the senator should be detained at Camp Aguinaldo where he was formerly held prior to the granting of amnesty.
Guevarra explained that while Duterte’s proclamation is a “revocation” of the amnesty by title, the text clearly states that it has nullified the amnesty, rendering it void from the moment it was issued.
He said while the title indicates a revocation, the contents of the proclamation would show that it actually nullified or void ab initio the amnesty as if it never existed.
It was set aside and it’s a declaration that it was void from the moment it was issued, Guevarra said.
The DOJ Secretary said that based on the review, Trillanes failed to comply with two requirements: filling out in person an official application for amnesty and admission of fault or guilt.
Fadullon said that based on their records, Trillanes did not apply for amnesty, which is a requirement under the law.
He said that there are 31 accused in the case under then Makati RTC Judge Oscar Pimentel.
“If everyone applied (for) amnesty, they would have manifested it and informing the court they complied with the requirements. Based on what I have checked so far, it did not include the name of Senator Trillanes,” Fadullon said.
He said that based on this, the case can be reopened and that he asked the court to issue the alias warrant of arrest against the senator.
“‘Yung formal na pag-fill up ng (The formal filling up of a) person under oath of official application for amnesty and the other requirements is he should have admitted fault or guilt dun sa charges filed against him before you can be eligible for amnesty,” he said.
Duterte declared “void ab initio” the grant of amnesty to Trillanes for his failure to comply with the minimum requirements to qualify under the amnesty proclamation.
He also said Trillanes failed to file the official amnesty application form and expressly admit his guilt for the crimes he committed.
Trillanes earlier denied this claim, saying he had met all the requirements for amnesty when it was granted him with the concurrence of Congress in 2011.
However, Guevarra maintained that the burden of proof is on the senator.
Guevarra said Trillanes should show the requirements since what they are saying is the application is under oath but does not exist in the records.
He said there are no records either of admission of guilt on the part of Trillanes for the charges filed against him.
Guevarra also emphasized that the review of the amnesty given to Trillanes has been there for quite some time and that the decision to issue the proclamation did not happen overnight, though he has no information on what prompted the review.
The Justice Secretary also said that the review on the amnesty “might have been studied in the past by the Office of the Solicitor General and the review of the granting of the amnesty” probably came from OSG lawyers and Malacanang lawyers.
“This matter of review has been there for quite some time, it’s not as if it happened for five days ago. I think this is being discussed a couple of years ago, as far back as 2013,” he told reporters.
Guevarra also made remarks on Trillanes’ claim that the order was a political move.
“From the point of view of government, if there is something that needs to be done, it should be done regardless of timing,” the DOJ chief noted.
“We cannot prevent people or Senator Trillanes from thinking that way but from the point of government if there is something that needs to be done then it should be done regardless of the timing, especially if an act is being void from the beginning. We are not talking about any prescriptive period here,” he added.
Guevarra, who has been designated as OIC by the President, who is on a state visit to Israel and Jordan, said he has instructed the AFP and PNP to cause the arrest of Trillanes.
The DOJ secretary added that the President enjoined the AFP to effect Trillanes’ arrest, considering that the latter has pending court martial proceedings before he was given an amnesty.
Guevarra said the court martial proceedings would have to proceed now along with the coup d’état case pending before the trial court.
“At the time of the issuance of amnesty or of the proclamation granting the amnesty there was court martial proceedings ongoing before the DND-AFP on the matter of mutiny and conduct unbecoming of an officer. So there was parallel proceeding happening before the AFP, that’s why there is a directive address to the AFP to continue the proceedings against Senator Trillanes,” Guevarra said.
Guevarra also indicated that the review of the grant of amnesty under Proclamation No. 75 may also cover other soldiers.
“For now, the proclamation only covers him but I believe that maybe others who might be similarly situated and their applications are also being reviewed. Not too sure about that but since there is a review ongoing it might include not only Senator Trillanes but also the others,” Guevarra noted.
Guevarra also agreed that the Senate may temporarily place Trillanes under its custody until the cases against him are revived.
Furthermore, Trillanes also failed to comply with the condition that the applicant recants all previous statements inconsistent with the requirement of admission of guilt.
Proclamation No. 75 which was issued on November 24, 2010 granted amnesty to active and former personnel of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, Philippine National Police and their supporters who may have committed crimes punishable under the Revised Penal Code, the Articles of War or other laws in connection with the Oakwood mutiny, the Marine standoff and the Manila Peninsula incident.
On December 13, 2010, both houses of Congress concurred with Proclamation No. 75.
In the same period, the Makati RTC Branch 148 issued an order granting Trillanes’ motion to cancel the promulgation due to Proclamation No. 75 issued by Aquino.-PNA