MANILA Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra on Monday cried foul over attempts by supporters of Senator Antonio Trillanes IV to sway the Makati City Regional Trial Court (RTC) judge handling the coup d' etat charges against him.
Trillanes' supporters sent rows of flowers and letters, left at the hallways of the 14th floor of the Makati City Hall of Justice in front of the office of RTC Branch 148 Judge Andres Soriano.
"That's exactly the kind of pressure that has been exerted upon Judge Soriano. Some people have made it appear that any ruling against Sen. Trillanes will be a deathblow to democracy and the rule of law. Even a first year student law student will tell you that such acts tending to influence the decision of the judge are a clear and punishable case of contempt of court," Guevarra told reporters.
On Sunday, Guevarra denied Magdalo party-list Rep. Gary Alejano's claims of supposed government's pressure on Soriano to rule against Trillanes.
The allegations, Guevarra said "tend to impede the orderly administration of justice, unfairly cast aspersion on the integrity and professionalism of the Department of Justice and its state prosecutors, and contumaciously influence Judge Soriano's decision-making process".
On Friday, Soriano said the government's motion for the issuance of an arrest warrant and hold departure order against the lawmaker is "considered now submitted for resolution."
In his resolution, the judge also "noted" the objections made by prosecutors on the documentary evidence submitted by Trillanes' counsels "without prejudice to the determination of the probative value of said exhibits".
The court ruled to deny outright the admission of two exhibits marked "9" and "12", which are printouts of the Facebook page of the Department of National Defense and printouts of 'throwback' photographs of Trillanes.
Makati RTC Branch 150 Judge Elmo Alameda, who handles the rebellion charges against the lawmaker, gave Trillanes' until this week to file a reply to the prosecution's opposition to the motion for reconsideration filed by the defense on the issuance of the arrest warrant against the lawmaker in that case.
Two of these uprisingsthe Oakwood mutiny in July 2003 and the Manila Peninsula siege in November 2007were 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). (PNA)
Source: Philippine News Agency