Constitutional Law & Civil Rights

No TRO vs Voided Trillanes' Amnesty: SC

Date: 11 September 2018; Type: Legal News; Source: Philippine News Agency

MANILA, Sept 11 (PNA) - The Supreme Court (SC) has denied the petition filed by Senator Antonio Trillanes IV seeking the issuance of a temporary restraining order (TRO) against President Rodrigo Duterte's Proclamation No. 572, which declared the amnesty granted to him as void ab initio.

"The Court resolved to deny petitioner Senator Trillanes' prayer for the issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction and/or temporary restraining order," SC spokesperson, Atty. Maria Victoria Gleoresty Guerra, told reporters in a press conference.

Guerra said that according to the High Court, there is no need for it to issue a TRO as President Duterte has guaranteed that the opposition senator will not be arrested unless an arrest warrant has been issued by a trial court.

"Thus, there is no extreme and urgent necessity for the Court to issue an injunctive relief, considering that the respondents have acknowledged Senator Trillanes' right to due process," the SC said.

The SC said it is up to the trial courts to determine the facts of the cases against Trillanes.

"Hence, it is appropriate that the Makati RTCs (Regional Trial Courts) should be given leeway in exercising their concurrent jurisdiction to hear and resolve the pleadings/motions filed by the parties as regards the legality of Proclamation 572," it added.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) filed the motions after Duterte issued Proclamation 572, which declared as “void ab initio” or void from the start, the amnesty granted to Trillanes for failing to comply with the requirements.

The DOJ has filed separate motions before Makati RTC Branches 148 and 150, asking that arrest warrants and hold departure orders (HDO) be issued against Trillanes.

Branch 148 is handling the coup d’etat case against Trillanes concerning the Oakwood mutiny, while Branch 150 is handling the rebellion case against the senator over the Manila Peninsula siege.

Branch 148 Judge Andres Soriano and Branch 150 Judge Elmo Alameda have set separate hearings on the DOJ's motion on Thursday and Friday, respectively.

Meanwhile, the High Court ordered the respondents, through Solicitor General Jose Calida, to submit a comment within 10 days.

Based on the proclamation signed by Duterte last Aug. 31, Trillanes has no pending application for amnesty granted to all active and former personnel of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and supporters who joined the July 2003 Oakwood Mutiny, the February 2006 Marines stand-off and the November 2007 Manila Peninsula incident.

This, in effect, voided the amnesty extended to him by former president Benigno S. Aquino III through Proclamation 75 issued in November 2010.

The amnesty was granted in 2010 under Proclamation 75 of then president Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III regarding the involvement of Trillanes and a number of others in the Oakwood mutiny and Manila Peninsula siege.

In a 36-page petition for certiorari prohibition and injunction, Trillanes questioned the legality of the proclamation, which invalidated his amnesty.

Named as respondents in the petition were Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, Armed Forces Chief of Staff Gen. Carlito G. Galvez, Interior Secretary Eduardo Año, Philippine National Police Chief Director General Oscar Albayalde, and Criminal Investigation and Detection Group Chief Police Director Roel Obusan.

Sought for a comment, Guevarra welcomed the High Court's decision.

“The DOJ is very happy to know that the Supreme Court has denied Senator Trillanes’ application for a restraining order. There is really no extreme urgency to speak of, as the trial courts have set the DOJ’s motions for alias warrant of arrest and HDO for hearing, thereby giving Senator Trillanes an opportunity to be heard,” he told reporters.

“More significantly, the Supreme Court has recognized that the issue of validity of Proclamation 572 involves factual questions that only the trial courts may properly resolve. In the process, the Supreme Court has also acknowledged the trial courts’ continuing jurisdiction over the coup d’ eta’t and rebellion cases, notwithstanding the alleged ‘finality’ of the orders of dismissal based on the grant of amnesty to Senator Trillanes,” the justice chief explained.

Solicitor General Jose Calida, meanwhile, echoed Guevarra's remarks.

"The OSG (Office of the Solicitor General) is elated that no less than the Supreme Court has acknowledged that Proclamation No. 572 afforded Mr. Trillanes due process. Hence, the high court found that “there is no extreme and urgent necessity for the Court to issue injunctive relief,” Calida said in a statement.

"The OSG welcomes the development that no temporary retraining order was issued and we nurture the hope that Mr. Trillanes, no matter how remote the possibility, will finally man up and face the charges against him for the unlawful actions he committed against the Filipino people," he added.

Trillanes, a former Navy captain, is facing charges, including coup d'état, for leading uprisings against the government. These are the mutiny at the Oakwood Premiere Hotel in Makati on July 27, 2003 and the Manila Peninsula siege on Nov. 29, 2007.

The coup d'état case that was filed against the senator is a non-bailable offense and has a penalty of life imprisonment.

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