[OPINION] Duterte’s vendetta against Senator Trillanes

Relishing in their recent success against Sereno, Duterte and Calida with the active support of Justice Secretary Guevarra, are emboldened to do more by replicating their dirty trick against Senator Trillanes

Jude Josue L. Sabio

Published: 1:47 PM September 8, 2018

Updated: 1:49 PM September 8, 2018

Duterte’s Proclamation 572  is chiefly anchored on a DND certification to the effect that there is no amnesty application of Senator Trillanes in their official files.  This is the very same dirty tactic that pinned down Chief Justice Sereno

But while the Chief Justice admitted her inability to locate certain SALNs, Senator Trillanes has, in fact, an amnesty application, as shown in reliable photos posted on the internet.  A media report posted on the internet reliably shows Senator Trillanes himself personally applying for amnesty, as confirmed by a DND Undersecretary. This fact is of public knowledge.

The fact that Senator Trillanes has a Certificate of Amnesty proves undoubtedly that he has applied for and fulfilled all the requirements for an amnesty.  This certificate could not have been issued without an application previously processed and approved.   

Indeed, this certificate is a public document entitled to full faith and credence as a prima facie evidence of its contents, including the fact of full legal compliance and especially the requirement of a general admission of guilt.

The DND certification of the non-existence of an amnesty application does not mean that Senator Trillanes did not file an amnesty application or his application was not duly processed.  It could mean that the amnesty application was indeed filed but was lost or misplaced through negligence or by deliberate intention by the DND.

It was Solicitor General Calida who resorted to this dirty trick against Chief Justice Sereno.  He is the brains behind the move to challenge the validity of Sereno’s appointment, not on the basis of acts committed while in office, but on the basis of non-submission of documents prior to appointment.  

The same devious pattern is evident in the case of Senator Trillanes.  He is being pilloried not on the basis of the substantive issue regarding the validity of the grant of amnesty, but rather on a mere technicality of the purported non-submission of an amnesty application.  

The Sereno quo warranto effectively sidestepped the more important constitutional process of a Senate impeachment.  The controversy instead hinged more on the very narrow technical issue of non-existence of certain documents.

In the case of Senator Trillanes, the controversy now is being diverted from the more important issue about the validity and substance of the grant of amnesty to the mundane matter of the non-existence of a document.

Duterte’s trivial and petty Proclamation is now being utilized by the DOJ to apply for an arrest warrant against Senator Trillanes. From reports, the DOJ is applying for an arrest warrant in a criminal case in a Makati court against the Senator.  But the criminal cases against Senator Trillanes have long been dismissed thru court Orders that are already final. 

Why the DOJ would apply for an arrest warrant in a criminal case that is already non-existent boggles the legal mind.  The DOJ should be reminded that its duty is not to imprison a person, but to see that justice is done. How can there be justice in what it is doing!

It is not only of public knowledge, but also of judicial notice already that Senator Trillanes has indeed applied for and fulfilled the legal requirement of an amnesty, as evidenced by his Certificate of Amnesty. That should already settle this trivial, petty legal matter in our courts.

Proclamation 572 reflects the petty, trivial and parochial mindset of a long-time Mayor of Davao City whose only job before becoming Mayor was to prosecute suspected criminals, which is a very easy and routine legal work, as any practising lawyer should know.  

Relishing in their recent success against Sereno, Duterte and Calida with the active support of Justice Secretary Guevarra, are emboldened to do more by replicating their dirty trick against Senator Trillanes.  Of course, they are overconfident that their immense executive power, which they abused to the hilt to unduly influence the Supreme Court against Sereno, could now easily sway a mere judge to favor their political objective.

It is very easy to realize that Proclamation 572, judging from its pettiness and triviality, is a perverted and twisted move by Mr Duterte for political vendetta against his fiercest and bravest critic.  It is an act of vengeance and retaliation coming from a mass murderer who has killed an archenemy in Davao in the person of Jun Pala.  

It is nothing but a politically motivated move to effectively silence the opposition by imprisoning its most vocal critic, after having already imprisoned an equally vocal critic in the person of Senator Leila de Lima who, to Duterte’s utter dismay, has not been silenced at all. –Rappler.com

Jude Josue L. Sabio is the lawyer of self-confessed Davao Death Squad hitman Edgar Matobato. He filed a mass murder complaint against President Rodrigo Duterte before the International Criminal Court in The Hague, The Netherlands, in May 2017.