The amnesty granted to Senator Antonio Trillanes IV by the previous president was revoked by President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday.
In justifying the move, Duterte’s Proclamation 572 signed last August 31, revoked the amnesty to Trillanes granted by former President Benigno Aquino III, stating that it was void from the beginning.
The voiding was based on two requirements that the Trillanes allegedly failed to comply with: (1) failure to apply for amnesty, and (2) failure to express guilt for the crimes that he committed in connection with the Oakwood Mutiny in 2003 and Manila Peninsula Siege in 2007 against the Arroyo administration.
In 2010, through Proclamation No. 75, former President Benigno Aquino III pardoned Trillanes — with the concurrence of Congress and Senate then.
Trillanes, who was jailed by Arroyo for seven years for staging two failed mutinees, claimed he "absolutely complied" with all the requirements.
In a statement to local media, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra — the head of government while Duterte is on visit to Israel and Jordan this week — said the act of giving amnesty to Trillanes was void "ab initio", i. e. from the beginning.
Following are the latest developments (all timings UAE):
- Philippines' Department of Justice files warrant of arrest and hold departure order against Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV.
Hours after the announcement by Malacañang ordering the arrest of Senator Antontio Trillanrs IV, Makati RTC Branch 148 Presiding Judge Andres Soriano receives motion for issuance of HDO and warrant of arrest vs the senator. Here is part of his interview. pic.twitter.com/2QWxmESLcD— Raffy Tima (@raffytima) September 4, 2018
Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra denies criticism that the voiding of the amnesty extended to Trillanes was brought about by his opposition to President Rodrigo Duterte.
Trillanes, who in the past berated Duterte for going back on his promise to sign a waiver to open the president's bank accounts as an act of transparency, has accused Duterte and his family of amassing undeclared wealth. The senator also accused the president's son Paulo of being a big-time druglord.
Trillanes now faces charges, arrest. With looming arrest, the Senator holds a 'despedida' in Senate.
Trillanes' lawyer said he can't be arrested based on Duterte's proclamation.
Motion for hold departute order and alias warrant filed just now at Makati RTC Branch 148 vs Senator Antonio Trillanes IV after Malacañang announced his amnesty has been voided by Pres. Duterte. Details out soon. pic.twitter.com/DWWRH5yftQ— Raffy Tima (@raffytima) September 4, 2018
Amnesty for Trillanes was granted by former President Benigno Aquino III. Trillanes was jailed for seven year after staging a coup d'etat against former president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, who is now the speaker of the House of Representatives.
Former Solicitor General Florin Hilbay, a bar-notcher, on Tuesday expressed opposition to President Rodrigo Duterte's Proclamation 572, which voided the amnesty given to Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV, saying such move is illegal.
Sen Sonny Trillanes was a prominent leader of the Oakwood & Manila Pen incidents for which an amnesty was issued by Pres Aquino, and concurred in by Congress.— florin hilbay (@fthilbay) September 4, 2018
Pres Duterte has no unilateral constitutional authority to nullify an amnesty given and accepted 8 years ago.
“Senator Trillanes was a prominent leader of the Oakwood and Manila Pen incidents for which an amnesty was issued by President [Benigno] Aquino [III] and concurred in by Congress. President Duterte has no unilateral constitutional authority to nullify an amnesty given and accepted eight years ago,” Hilbay said on his Twitter account.
The revocation of the Trillanes amnesty is a blatant attack on critics and the political opposition. Beyond Trillanes, it is illegal and wrong policy wise.— Tony La Viña (@tonylavs) September 4, 2018
Albay 1st District Representative Edcel Lagman said the amnesty to Trillanes in 2010 does not provide for any revocation clause. He explained that because Section 19, Article VII of the 1987 Constitution states that the presidential declaration of amnesty needs the concurrence of the majority of all members of both the House and the Senate, revocation, "if allowable, needs the same congressional concurrence."
"Consequently," said Lagman, "the reported revocation by President Rodrigo Duterte of the amnesty granted to Senator Antonio Trillanes has no legal and factual basis."
- At least 40 members of the police and the military are now at the Senate premises
- Soldiers declined to confirm if they had been sent to arrest Senator Antonio Trillanes IV
- Personnel from the Armed Forces of the Philippines, the Philippine National Police, Criminal Investigation Group-Special Operations Unit are still talking with the Senate Sergeant at Arms as of posting time. A member of the CIDG refused to say if they will arrest Trillanes.
Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra on Tuesday denied criticism that the voiding of the amnesty extended to Senator Antonio Trillanes IV was brought about by his opposition to President Rodrigo Duterte.
"It's not a question of political opposition. It's a matter of compliance with the law," Guevarra, the officer-in-charge of the national government while Duterte visits Israel and Jordan this week, told reporters at a briefing.
Guevara concedes he cannot prevent Trillanes or the public from calling the case one of "political persecution."
AFP just said they dont know how many applied for amnesty in 2011. Please check @ABSCBNNews January 2011 article - its 15 officers & 97 enlisted men. All granted amnesty by DND Amnesty Board. Check out my timeline for link. https://t.co/h29xDMOmfX— Karen Davila (@iamkarendavila) September 4, 2018
The Justice chief said, however, the government believes that "if there is something that needs to be done, then it should be done regardless of the timing, especially if an act is deemed void from the beginning."
Trillanes pointed to Solicitor General Jose Calida as the one allegedly behind the President Duterte’s order to revoke the amnesty granted to him during the past administration.
"They’ve been trying everything to stop the hearing na iko- conduct ko against kay Mr. Calida,” he said. A committee in the Senate, chaired by Trillanes, is conducting a probe against Calida. Trillanes said in Filipino: “You see how much of a coward is Duterte? He already signed it, and needed to wait until he leaves for Israel to make it appear he is busy. But you can only call this as the move of a someone who is fearful,” he said.
“With what's happening, it should be clear to everyone that Mr. Duterte is a dictator. He does not respect an institution such as this (Senate),” Trillanes added.
- Amnesty of Senator Antonio Trillanes IV had just been revoked by President Rodrigo Duterte. Duterte revoked amnesty given to an opposition senator involved in a failed coup 15 years ago and ordered his arrest, in what would be the second detainment of a senator critical of the president.
Trillanes, Duterte's most vocal opponent, has repeatedly accused the president of asset concealment and backs complaints lodged with the International Criminal Court (ICC) seeking his indictment over the alleged murders of thousands of criminals and drug dealers.
An executive order printed in the pro-Duterte Manila Times newspaper said amnesty given in 2010 to the former military serviceman was voided because he had not met the minimum requirements to receive it, including admitting his guilt.
The order instructed the justice department and armed forces to pursue criminal and administrative cases against Trillanes, while police and the military were ordered to arrest him and put him in detention to face trial.
Trillanes called it "a stupid executive order" and said he would not resist arrest or try to escape.
"It's a clear case of political persecution," he told reporters at the Senate.
If Trillanes is arrested, he would be the second member of the 24-seat Senate to be detained under Duterte, joining Leila de Lima, a former justice secretary held for 18 months after being accused of facilitating drugs deals in national jails.
LET THIS BE OUR FINAL WARNING AND WE SPEAK IN BEHALF OF ALL THE ACTIVE AND RETIRED MEMBERS OF THE AFP: MR DUTERTE, DO NOT POLITICIZE THE AFP. WE REPEAT, DO NOT POLITICIZE THE AFP. YOU CANNOT ORDER THE AFP TO ARREST A CIVILIAN LIKE SENATOR TRILLANES. THATS BEYOND OUR JURISDICTION https://t.co/GjLLNIRF3H— ALT Team AFP (@AltTeamAFP) September 4, 2018
Both are critical of Duterte and his war on drugs and have led Senate enquiries into his role in alleged executions of criminals by police, both while president and when mayor of southern Davao City.
Duterte denies wrongdoing.
The ICC in February started a preliminary examination into a complaint against the president, which accuses him of crimes against humanity.
Duterte is currently on an official visit to Israel and his spokesman was due to brief reporters there later on Tuesday.
Trillanes was granted amnesty by former President Benigno Aquino for involvement in a failed 2003 coup and mutiny in 2007.
Both incidents were against then-President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, an ally of Duterte who in July became speaker of the lower house.
"This incident, should be clear to everyone that Mr. Duterte is a dictator," Trillanes said.
"He does not respect institutions. That is why we're like this: ordinary people are killed and critics are jailed." Asked about arresting Trillanes, police spokesman Benigno Durana said any order given by judicial authorities would be complied with.
Who is Trillanes
Senator Antonio Trillanes IV has been placed under the custody of Senate President Vicente Sotto III after President Rodrigo Duterte voided his amnesty and ordered his arrest. Trillanes, a former Navy officer who participated in military uprising during the Arroyo administration, said this was the decision made after a meeting with Sotto and Minority Leader Franklin Drilon.
"Kakakausap lang namin kay (I just talked to) Senator Sotto. I was placed in the custody of the Senate President," he said in a press conference. While under custody, Trillanes will remain at the premises of the Senate.
He said his lawyers will file the necessary petition before the Supreme Court against Duterte's Proclamation 572, which states that the amnesty extended to him was void from the start because he did not comply with the "minimum requirements to qualify under the amnesty proclamation."
Trillanes said the arresting officers do not have with them an arrest warrant.
Trillanes and the other Magdalo soldiers were able to avail of amnesty by virtue of Proclamation 75, issued in November 2010 by then-President Benigno Aquino III. They filed their amnesty application before the Department of National Defense on January 5, 2011.