Makati trial court dismisses petition to arrest Trillanes

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The lack of documents does not in itself mean that Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV (pictured) did not file an application for amnesty, a Makati City regional trial court judge rules. AP

MANILA – A court dismissed the Department of Justice’s motion to issue a warrant of arrest and a hold departure order against Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV in connection with his coup d’état charge for the 2003 Oakwood Mutiny.

But at the same time Makati City Regional Trial Court Branch 148 Judge Andres Soriano upheld the constitutionality of President Rodrigo Duterte’s Proclamation 572 that voided the amnesty granted to Trillanes.

In his verdict Soriano said the motion was junked because the case against Trillanes was closed in 2011 and the doctrine of finality and executory of judgment should not be disturbed.

“Well established is the doctrine that a final and executory judgment shall be immutable,” Soriano said. “The court, in fact, loses jurisdiction over the case when its decision has become final and executory.”

“The law is vibrant. Jurisprudence is its lifeblood … but for now the court finds itself powerless to disturb the said doctrine even it had sustained the factual bases for the Proclamation 572,” he added.

In deciding on the motion Soriano considered Trillanes’ certificate of amnesty, the affidavits of four defense witnesses, and a printed photo of the senator’s application for amnesty.

Rey Robles, Trillanes’ legal counsel, told the press the senator was delighted.

Masaya si Senator Trillanes dahil sa bandang huli lumabas ang katotohanan na, unang-una, hindi totoo iyong sinasabi sa kanya na hindi siya nag-file ng amnesty application,” Robles said.

Duterte signed Proclamation 572 on Aug. 31 revoking the amnesty granted to Trillanes, accusing the latter of not complying with the “minimum requirements to qualify under the amnesty proclamation.”

In enforcing the Proclamation, the Justice department argued that did not file an application and admit guilt.

But Soriano disputed this, saying “the fact that no records of the application exist in the files of the Secretariat and/or the Ad Hoc Committee or the other offices of the DND (Department of National Defense) does not itself mean that no application was filed.”

Still, Soriano upheld Duterte’s power to issue Proclamation 572.

According to the judge, the proclamation did not “breach any constitutional guaranty” or “encroach on the constitutional power of either the judicial or executive branch.”

“Proclamation 572 is purely an executive act and prerogative in the exercise of the President’s power of control and supervision over all offices and agencies of the executive department,” he said.

Malacañang respects the court’s decision. “[The] Palace respects the constitutional independence of the judiciary and it will continue to do so,” Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo said in a statement.

“As we have said, the executive branch has and will always bow down to the majesty of the law, it will not think twice in doing the same for this particular case,” Panelo added./PN

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