Palace welcomes court decision on Proclamation 572 voiding Trillanes amnesty

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DAVAO C ITY (October 24) — Malacañang on Tuesday, welcomed the ruling of Judge Andres Soriano of the Makati Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 148 affirming the validity of Proclamation No. 572, which voided the amnesty granted to Senator Antonio Trillanes IV.

“What is important to my mind right now is that our theory from the very start that the President can void an amnesty granted to anyone… was upheld by the court,” Presidential Spokesperson & Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Secretary Salvador Panelo said in a Palace press briefing.

“They were claiming at that time that the President does not have the power to void any amnesty, and the court said he has,” he said referring to the lower court’s recent decision.

Sec. Panelo added that the Makati RTC resolution had declared the validity of the President’s proclamation adding that “it was not in violation of the Constitution.”

“(I)t’s purely an executive act, that it does not violate the equal protection clause of the Constitution, that it is not a bill of attainder, that it does not encroach on the function of the coequal branches of government, [and] that it does not require the concurrence of Congress,” the Palace official cited.

On the other hand, the President’s chief legal counsel said the government would still file a petition to the Court of Appeals (CA) with respect to the Makati court’s decision to not issue an arrest warrant against Trillanes.

The Office of the Solicitor-General is already preparing the petition, which Panelo said would be filed “very soon.”

“[W]e said from the very start that this administration will prosecute anyone and correct any violation of law. That is why we are pursuing this until the end,” Panelo stressed.

He particularly contested Judge Soriano’s findings that Trillanes had filed an application for amnesty in 2011 based on the evidence presented to his court. Panelo said the court made an “erroneous” conclusion on the basis of secondary evidence, which he said should have not been given due course.

“I have gone over the decision. There are procedural matters decided by the court which to my mind are erroneous – how it accepted evidence despite the fact that they were all secondary evidence. So there are questions that can be properly raised in the Court of Appeals and subsequently, in the Supreme Court,” he noted.

Panelo said the issue was not just about the due execution of the document, but the contents of the document itself.

“Did he really apply as provided by law? Did he really admit guilt? Did the document show… the required narrative? Those are questions that should have been addressed by the court. But it said that it is irrelevant because the only issue is the due execution and existence of the document… How would you know if he really applied if you don’t see the document itself,” he asserted.

“We saw that there has been a violation in the grant of amnesty and that is precisely why a proclamation was issued to declare its nullity. So until such a time that the Supreme Court says we are wrong, we will consistently make our stand that we are right,” Panelo added. –NewsLine.ph

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