THE camp of embattled Sen. Antonio Trillanes 4th on Thursday trooped to the Supreme Court (SC) to stop President Rodrigo Duterte’s revocation of his amnesty and prevent his arrest.
A lawyer for the opposition lawmaker and strident Duterte critic, who was holed up at his Senate office, filed a petition for certiorari or review and prohibition and sought a temporary restraining order or writ of preliminary injunction.
Reynaldo Robles, Trillanes’ lawyer, was accompanied by former congressman Ashley Acedillo, a former Magdalo mutineer like Trillanes, to show documents that they have complied with the requirements for their amnesty during the Aquino administration.
At the Senate, Trillanes, 47, his wife Arlene and supporters heard Mass led by Fathers Flavie Villanueva, Manuel Gatchalian and Robert Reyes.
Trillanes on Thursday morning showed to the media documents that, he said, people from “inside and outside” the military and defense establishment had given him to prove that he completed the requirements for amnesty.
The coup plotter-turned-lawmaker warned Duterte that some military men were uneasy over the recent events and didn’t want the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) dragged into politics.
“They are extremely bothered by this move by their commander-in-chief that is placing them in a difficult position,” Trillanes told reporters.
He vowed to run after Duterte, Solicitor General Jose Calida who was said to have requested amnesty documents from the Department of National Defense (DND), Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra who has sought a warrant of arrest from a Makati court, and even DND spokesman Arsenio Andolong when they are no longer in office.
“Ka-career-in ko kayo (I will make a career out of it),” Trillanes said.
On top of the list
Trillanes was among the leaders of the “Oakwood mutiny” in July 2003, the standoff at the Marine headquarters in February 2006, and the siege of the Manila Peninsula hotel in November 2007 — all failed uprisings against the Arroyo administration.
Trillanes, a lieutenant senior grade (equivalent to army captain) in the Navy, ran for senator in the 2007 polls and won while in detention on coup d’état charges.
With the change of government in 2010, Trillanes and other Magdalo men secured an amnesty proclamation in late 2010 from then-President Benigno Aquino 3rd, which was concurred in by Congress.
Amnesty was granted by a committee under the DND a year later.
Trillanes on Thursday showed the “list of applicants for amnesty” dated January 5, 2011 that listed him as No. 8, and a blank application form for amnesty under Proclamation 75 issued on November 24, 2010.
Trillanes also furnished the media a copy of the letter of former defense secretary Voltaire Gazmin to former president Aquino approving the recommendation of the DND ad hoc committee for amnesty.
Trillanes was on top of the list contained in DND Ad Hoc Resolution 2 dated January 21, 2011, which identified the soldiers granted amnesty.
Gazmin on Thursday confirmed that Trillanes and all other Magdalo officers who were granted amnesty “went through the process.”
‘Grave abuse of discretion’
In his 33-page petition, Trillanes questioned Proclamation 572 signed by President Rodrigo Duterte on August 31, which revoked his 2011 amnesty and placed him on court-martial anew. The senator, the proclamation claimed, did not file an application for amnesty and did not admit to his crimes as required by law.
The petition said Duterte, along with the Office of the President, the DND and AFP, committed grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction, “by attempting to effect the arrest of the petitioner when there is in fact no valid warrant, no lawful cause and no pending case against petitioner justifying such arrest.”
Named respondents to the case were Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, Interior Secretary Eduardo Año, Justice Secretary Guevarra, military chief Carlito Galvez Jr.,
Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Oscar Albayalde, and PNP Criminal Investigation and Detection Group head Roel Obusan.
Trillanes argued that voiding his amnesty without congressional nod was a clear violation of the 1987 Constitution, “smacks of political harassment,” and violates the doctrine against double jeopardy, as his court cases had long been dismissed.
Makati Regional Trial Court Judge Andres Soriano has ordered Trillanes to comment on the urgent motion filed by the Justice department asking for the issuance of an alias warrant of arrest and hold-departure order against the senator.
Robredo shows up
Vice President Maria Leonor “Leni” Robredo showed up in the middle of Mass at the Senate on Thursday to show support for Trillanes, from a speaking engagement at the nearby Philippine International Convention Center.
Robredo said Duterte’s actions were rallying the opposition.
“This is clear harassment. The reason is clear why it is being done to him. And we strongly oppose this use of power to harass those who do not share their opinion,” Robredo told reporters.
Some 50 protesters rallied in front of the Supreme Court on Thursday to show support for Trillanes.
WITH BERNADETTE E. TAMAYO, KIMBERLY MALAIT AND DEMPSEY REYES
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