MANILA Senators on Tuesday had mixed reactions after learning that President Rodrigo Duterte has revoked the amnesty given to opposition Senator Antonio Trillanes IV in 2010 over his involvement in unsuccessful attempts to overthrow the Arroyo administration.
Trillanes' amnesty was revoked through Proclamation No. 572, which was signed by the President last August 31.
The proclamation stated that the amnesty extended to Trillanes was void from the start because he did not comply with the "minimum requirements to qualify under the amnesty proclamation."
In a statement, Senate President Vicente Sotto III said he is still waiting for an official copy of Proclamation 572.
Sotto said he does not wish to personally comment on the matter as it concerns a serious and legal case which, based on my recollection, does not have any precedent in the past that can be used as reference.
The matter concerning one of our colleagues will have to be discussed by the Senate as a collegial body. I will issue a statement later on, he said.
Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri said the chamber will not allow authorities to arrest Trillanes inside the Senate.
There will be no arrest in Senate premises, Zubiri said in ambush interview, adding that the details would be announced later by the Senate President.
Senator Gregorio Honasan II echoed the sentiments of Sotto, saying it was also the first time that he encountered the situation.
In an interview, Honasan, a former renegade soldier who benefited from an amnesty, said while he knows that amnesty programs are acted upon by both the Executive and the Legislature, he is not sure about the process pertaining to revocation.
This is the first time I encountered the situation and I don't know the exact process to be followed. I hope the process is being followed, Honasan said.
On the other hand, Trillanes' colleagues in the opposition maintained that Proclamation 572 should have the concurrence of Congress for it to be legal.
Senator Francis Pangilinan stressed that Proclamation 75 that granted amnesty to the senator in 2010 was concurred in by Congress.
The Constitution provides that an amnesty proclamation requires the concurrence of both Houses of Congress and therefore the said revocation requires our concurrence and is therefore not immediately executory, he said in a statement.
Pangilinan added that with the absence of a concurrence of Congress on Proclamation 572, any arrest is illegal.
Meanwhile, Senator Risa Hontiveros said President Duterte's revocation of the amnesty granted to Trillanes is unconstitutional.
While the Executive has the power to grant amnesty, it must have the concurrence of a majority of all the members of Congress. The same goes with revocation, Hontiveros said.
In Proclamation 572, Duterte pointed out that Trillanes did not file an Official Amnesty Application Form as per certification dated Aug. 30, 2018, issued by Lt. Col. Thea Joan Andrade, chief of the Discipline, Law and Order Division of the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Personnel, stating there is no copy of his application for amnesty in the records.
The proclamation also stated that Trillanes never expressed his guilt for the crimes that were committed on the occasion of the Oakwood Mutiny and the Manila Peninsula Siege.
Despite Trillanes' failure to apply for amnesty and refusal to admit guilt, his name was nonetheless included among those granted amnesty in 2010 and was approved by former defense secretary Voltaire Gazmin, the proclamation read.
The grant of amnesty to former LTSG Antonio Trillanes IV under Proclamation No. 75 is declared void ab initio because he did not comply with the minimum requirements to qualify under the amnesty proclamation, Duterte said.
The President ordered the Department of Justice and the Court Marshall of the Armed Forces of the Philippines to pursue all criminal and administrative charges against Trillanes.
Duterte also ordered the military and the police to employ all lawful means to apprehend the coup leader so that he can be recommitted to the detention facility where he had been incarcerated for him to stand trial for the crimes he is charged with. (PNA)
Source: Philippine News Agency