Another Makati court defers arrest warrant, HDO vs. Trillanes

MANILA The Makati City Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 150 on Monday deferred the issuance of an alias warrant of arrest and a hold departure order (HDO) against Senator Antonio Trillanes IV and set the motion filed by the Department of Justice (DOJ) for hearing on September 14.

In a three-page order, Makati RTC Branch 150 Judge Elmo Alameda said he will not issue a warrant of arrest and a hold departure order against Trillanes for the meantime since he needs to review the case.

Alameda noted that acting on the motion of the prosecution without hearing Trillanes' side would be in violation of his constitutionally-guaranteed right to due process.

The court is not persuaded with the argument of the prosecution that its omnibus motion should not be set for hearing and should be acted by this court ex-parte. While the motion has been denominated as ex-parte, the court after thoroughly considering the grounds and arguments raised therein, is of the view that acting on the without setting it for hearing would definitely prejudice the right of the accused to due process, Alameda said.

The Makati RTC is handling the rebellion case against Trillanes and several other Magdalo soldiers in connection with their involvement in the Manila Peninsula siege in 2007.

It also noted the pending petition filed by Trillanes before the Supreme Court (SC) questioning the validity of the revocation of Proclamation No. 75 issued by former President Aquino granting amnesty to the senator and his co-accused.

The issue raised before the SC, according to Alameda, may be a ground for the court to wait for the ruling as there is a possibility that its action would be rendered moot.

On Friday, the DOJ filed an urgent ex-parte motion last week asking the trial court to issue an HDO and an alias warrant of arrest following the issuance by President Duterte of Proclamation No. 572 declaring as void ab initio (from the start) the amnesty issued to Trillanes for his failure with the basic requirement of filing an application for an amnesty together with an admission of guilt.

It argued that the rebellion case is still pending with the court as the prosecution has yet to present its evidence insofar as Trillanes is concerned.

The nature and urgency of the relief prayed for necessitate an ex parte application by the People for an HDO and a warrant of arrest precisely so as not to defeat the purpose of the said court processes, read the motion signed by officer-in-charge (OIC) Prosecutor General Richard Anthony Fadullon, and Assistant State Prosecutor Mary Jane Sytat following Duterte's issuance of Proclamation No. 572, which invalidates the Department of National Defense Ad Hoc Committee Resolution No. 2 issued on Jan. 31, 2011 insofar as the amnesty granted to Trillanes.

The DOJ said the rebellion case has not yet reached the trial stage since Alameda issued a Sept. 7, 2011 order granting the appeal of Trillanes to dismiss the case due to Proclamation No. 75 issued in 2010 by then president Benigno Aquino III, which gave amnesty to the senator and a number of others over their involvement in the 2003 Oakwood mutiny and 2007 Manila Peninsula siege.

However, the DOJ informed Alameda that President Duterte issued Proclamation 572, which declared Proclamation 75 as void ab initio(void from the beginning)."

It is clear that this instant case is still pending with this Honorable Court, as the prosecution has yet to present its evidence in chief insofar as accused Trillanes in concerned, the DOJ said.

The prosecution panel also filed the same motion to Judge Andres Soriano of Makati RTC Branch 148 last week, who later set the matter for hearing on September 13.

Sought for a comment, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said he respects the court's decision.

"We respect the order of RTC-Makati Branch 150 to set the prosecution's urgent motions for hearing. After all, Senator Trillanes has indicated that he will remain inside the senate until the courts act on the pending matters," Guevarra said in a text message.

Based on President Rodrigo Duterte's Proclamation No. 572, which was signed 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 27, 2003 Oakwood Mutiny, the February 2006 Marines stand-off and the Nov. 29, 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. (PNA)

Source: Philippine News Agency

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