Solicitor General Jose Calida Appeals Makati Court’s Amnesty Ruling Before CA

State lawyers have challenged the move of a Makati court to dismiss the government’s appeal to pursue criminal cases against Senator Antonio Trillanes IV for his involvement in a number of uprisings to oust the government.

In its petition dated January 17 filed before the Court of Appeals, Solicitor General Jose Calida urged the court to nullify the October ruling of Makati RTC Branch 148 against the government’s plea to revive the case against the outspoken lawmaker.

A motion for reconsideration filed by the government and the defense was likewise turned down by the Makati court on November 22.

The OSG also sought the issuance of a warrant of arrest against Trillanes and remand the case to the trial court for continuation of proceedings.

“An amnesty can only be valid if it is granted by the President and the accused admits his guilt for the crime he was charged with. In the case at bar, it was (then) Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin who granted Senator Antonio Trillanes IV amnesty, not the President. Worse, Trillanes was given amnesty although he did not even admit having committed the crimes for which he was indicted,” the OSG stated in its petition.

Makati RTC Branch 148 Judge Andres Soriano last year turned down the motions for partial reconsideration filed by both the government and Trillanes.

Prosecutors from the Department of Justice (DOJ) earlier challenged Soriano’s factual findings — that Trillanes filed an application for amnesty and admitted his guilt for the offense of coup d’etat — which contradicted the position of the government.

In his original ruling, Soriano found “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 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.”

However, the court turned down the government’s plea for an arrest warrant and a hold departure order against the lawmaker, citing that the judgment clearing the lawmaker had long been final and executory.

“The dismissal (of the case) has become final and executory,” Soriano said, citing the legal doctrine of “immutability of a final and executory judgment,” adding that the court had lost jurisdiction over the case after it had lapsed into becoming final.

Proclamation 572, signed by Duterte on Aug. 31 last year, declared Trillanes’ amnesty as void ab initio (from the beginning).

Based on the proclamation, Trillanes has no pending application for amnesty granted to all active and former personnel of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and supporters who joined the July 2003 Oakwood Mutiny, the February 2006 Marines stand-off and the November 2007 Manila Peninsula incident.

Former President Benigno Aquino III granted amnesty to Trillanes and other soldiers who were involved in the above-mentioned uprisings through Proclamation 75 issued in November 2010. (PNA)

Photo Credit: Senator Antonio Trillanes IV Official Facebook Page