MANILA -- It is up to President Rodrigo Duterte if he would grant executive clemency to 277 other soldiers since their amnesty records are missing from the archives of the Department of National Defense (DND), Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said.
For now, the focus is on Senator (Antonio) Trillanes' amnesty grant. It is up to the President what he wants to do with the grant of amnesty to other individuals, Guevarra said in a text message to reporters Saturday.
Executive clemency involves the exercise of discretion, and the president as chief executive and commander-in-chief enjoys a lot of freedom in exercising this prerogative, he said.
During last Friday's hearing of the Makati City Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 148 on the motion to issue an alias warrant of arrest and hold departure order (HDO) against Senator Antonio Trillanes IV, DND officials admitted that the agency has no records of the applications for amnesty of 277 soldiers involved in three incidents of uprisings from 2003 to 2007.
Two of these uprisings, the Oakwood mutiny in July 2003 and the Manila Peninsula siege in November 2007, were led by Trillanes, who was then a Navy lieutenant senior grade.
In 2011, the trial court dismissed the case against Trillanes and the other Magdalo soldiers by virtue of the amnesty given by former president Benigno S. Aquino III through Proclamation 75 issued in November 2010.
State prosecutors said with the proclamation issued by President Rodrigo Duterte, the court's order of dismissal issued seven years ago is considered void.
In President Duterte's Proclamation 572 issued on Aug. 31, Trillanes' amnesty was declared void ab initio (from the beginning).
Duterte said Trillanes failed to present the necessary requirements in the application of the amnesty for the Oakwood Mutiny, the Marine stand-off and the Manila Peninsula siege.
On Sept. 25, Makati RTC Branch 150 Judge Elmo Alameda granted the motion filed by DOJ in connection with the rebellion case against Trillanes and other Magdalo soldiers over the Manila Peninsula siege in 2007.
With Alameda's granting of the DOJ motion, Trillanes was arrested and booked for the rebellion case. He was, however, allowed to post a PHP200,000 bail.
Alameda said the Sept. 7, 2011 dismissal of the rebellion case against Trillanes can be considered void and has no legal and binding effect considering the issuance of Proclamation 572. (PNA)
Source: Philippine News Agency