Aquino confirms amnesty to Trillanes, questions Duterte order | Inquirer News

Aquino confirms amnesty to Trillanes, questions Duterte order

/ 07:06 AM September 06, 2018

Former President Benigno Aquino III on Wednesday stood by the validity of his grant of amnesty to Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV, saying documents showed the application was filed and was approved by the Department of National Defense (DND) and concurred in by Congress in 2011.

Aquino said he was willing to attest to the validity of the amnesty if needed.


“If I’m called to be a witness, I have no problem with that,” he told the Inquirer.

First on the list


President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered the arrest of Trillanes, one of his fiercest critics, after voiding his amnesty on the grounds that the former mutineer had not applied for amnesty and had not admitted his guilt.

Aquino said copies of documents in his office showed then Lt. (s.g.) Antonio Trillanes IV was first on the list of 91 officers and enlisted personnel granted amnesty for involvement in either the 2003 Oakwood mutiny, the 2006 Marines standoff or the 2007 Manila Peninsula siege.

“In the case of Senator Trillanes, it is very clear that he applied for amnesty. It was recommended by the ad hoc committee of the DND and approved by the SND (Secretary of National Defense),” he said over the phone.

He also pointed out that his Proclamation No. 75 granting amnesty to Trillanes and other military and police personnel involved in the incidents was concurred in by the House and the Senate through Concurrent Resolution No. 4 dated Dec. 13 and 14, 2010, respectively.

The resolution was signed by then Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. and Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile.

“If I issued the amnesty without the concurrence of Congress, this would not have been valid,” Aquino said.

In his proclamation, Aquino cited the clamor from many sectors to grant amnesty to the concerned officers and personnel and “the need to promote an atmosphere conducive” to peace.


Following the proclamation, the officers and personnel were required to apply in the DND for amnesty under the proclamation.

Admission of guilt

Congress’ concurrent resolution recommended that “no application for amnesty shall be given due course without the applicant admitting his guilt or criminal culpability of any or all of the subject incidents in writing as expressed in the application.”

One of the documents provided by Aquino was DND Ad Hoc Committee Resolution No. 2.

It recommended to the defense secretary the approval of the application for amnesty after confirming the involvement of the officers and enlisted personnel in the incidents, and the absence of any opposition within the 15-day period provided for in the proclamation.

Another document was a letter to Aquino from then Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin dated Jan. 25, 2011. It informed the then President that Gazmin had approved the recommendation of the ad hoc committee and “thereby granted amnesty to the aforesaid officers and enlisted personnel through Committee Resolutions Nos., 1, 2, 3 and 4 duly signed.”


“On 04, 05, 06 and 07 January 2011, a total of 38 officers and 53 enlisted personnel have filed their applications for amnesty at the Office of the Committee Secretariat of the DND Ad Hoc Amnesty Committee,” Gazmin said.

But Aquino was puzzled by officials of the present administration, who said they could not find the application and that Trillanes did not make an admission of guilt.

“If you were not involved (in the incident), why will you apply for amnesty? By applying, you actually admitted and confirmed your participation,” he said.

He questioned the basis for the order to arrest Trillanes, since the court cases against him had been dismissed due to the amnesty.

Aquino said he was also “curious” as to why the President was the one ordering the arrest of Trillanes.

“The Chief Executive basically executes the law. He does not write the law, does not interpret the law. He can only make an order in furtherance of a court order or the specific grounds for arresting an individual under the rules of court,” Aquino said.


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TAGS: Antonio Trillanes IV, Benigno Aquino III, Department of National Defense, Manila Peninsula Siege, Oakwood Mutiny, revocation of amnesty, Rodrigo Duterte
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