MANILA, Philippines – Two soldiers granted amnesty for failed coup attempts in the past said the rule of law and due process must be upheld in the handling of the revocation of Senator Antonio Trillanes IV's amnesty.
In a statement on Sunday, September 9, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff Carlito Galvez Jr called on troops to "adhere to the rule of law and always obey the chain of command," adding that they should not engage in partisan politics.
Galvez's first statement on the matter might be his last as he stressed that the AFP would no longer comment on the merits of Trillanes' case.
He also reiterated the military's "submission" and "deference" to the Supreme Court (SC), after Trillanes filed a petition questioning President Rodrigo Duterte's Proclamation No. 572 that voided the senator's amnesty.
Galvez himself was granted amnesty in 1996 for a 1989 failed coup under then-president Corazon Aquino.
The sentiment on the rule of law was echoed by Senator Gregorio Honasan II, a former soldier who was granted amnesty as well.
He also told the AFP and the Department of National Defense (DND) to follow the chain of command.
"Uphold the rule of law and due process, obey the legally prescribed chain of command," Honasan said on Sunday.
"Allow the legal courts, not media, to decide and rule on matters of law. Implement policy and enforce the law and not interpret it," he added.
The senator received amnesty in 1995 after leading at least 5 failed coup attempts, also during the Corazon Aquino administration in the late 1980s.
Trillanes' application was further confirmed by Honorio Azcueta, former DND undersecretary and chairman of the ad hoc committee on amnesty.
On Sunday, Azcueta told reporters that he "conscientiously" followed the process in accordance with then-president Benigno Aquino III's Proclamation No. 75.
"I can honestly say that as chair of the ad hoc committee on amnesty, I conscientiously did my job in accordance with Proclamation 75 and its rules," said Azcueta, who led the review of Trillanes' application and the subsequent recommendation of the amnesty grant in 2011.
Trillanes remains holed up in his Senate office upon advice of lawyers and friends, while he waits for a decision from the SC. (LOOK: Inside Trillanes' 'home' in the Senate) – Rappler.com