MANILA, Philippines – No warrant of arrest was issued against opposition Senator Antonio Trillanes IV on Monday, September 10, as the Makati Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 150 said the senator must be given due process.
The development gave some relief to the former-mutineer-turned-senator, who had been holed up in his office to avoid the possibility of a warrantless arrest.
Like Makati RTC Branch 148, Branch 150 instead set the hearing for Trillanes' revived rebellion case to take place on Friday, September 14.
“The court is of the view that acting on the motion without setting it for hearing would definitely prejudice the right of the accused to due process,” said Judge Elmo Alameda of Makati RTC Branch 150.
Yet Trillanes decided to remain in the Senate, saying he did not believe the statements of President Rodrigo Duterte and the military that they would wait for the courts to decide, thus ruling out the possibility of a warrantless arrest. The senator said these were mere traps to lure him into going out of the chamber to arrest him.
As for the Department of Justice (DOJ), which tried to reopen charges at the lower courts related to Trilllanes’ failed coup attempts in 2003 and 2007, Secretary Guevarra said the agency would only be handling cases connected to these and not other pending criminal cases filed against the senator.
The other cases and complaints against Trillanes are being handled by city prosecutors of Pasay City and Davao City.
No consultation: Meanwhile, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana broke his silence on the issue when he disclosed that Solicitor General Jose Calida called him up personally to ask about the amnesty records of Trillanes, without so much as stating the reason why he was interested in them.
In an impromptu press briefing, Lorenzana said he did not ask simply because Calida is the government's top lawyer. The defense secretary also said he did not give Calida any records, but only allowed access to staff of the solicitor general who went to the Department of National Defense (DND).
Asked if the President consulted him before signing Proclamation 572 that sought to void the senator’s amnesty, Lorenzana again laid it bare: "No, I was not.”
Trust issues: Lorenzana said the solicitor general also asked about the amnesty records of some 100 other ex-mutineers.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the other certificates of amnesty signed only by former defense secretary Voltaire Gazmin may now also be questioned. Duterte earlier said the fact that it was only Gazmin who signed Trillanes' certificate of amnesty renders it void because President Benigno Aquino III should have signed it himself.
For Magdalo Representative Gary Alejano, the President’s reasoning puts at risk peace deals between the government and rebel groups. “Can they trust the government in granting amnesty if it can be easily revoked after some time?”
Trillanes’ fate may tell. – Rappler.com
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