Duterte blames Gazmin for flaws in Trillanes’ amnesty papers
DAVAO CITY — President Duterte said Saturday the flaw surrounding the amnesty given to his critic Senator Antonio Trillanes IV was traced to former Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, who himself recommended and approved the amnesty for the mutineer, a sole duty he described only of the President under the country’s Constitution.
Speaking at the Davao International Airport here from his trips to Israel and Jordan, Mr. Duterte revealed it was Solicitor General Jose Calida who did the research to support his issuance of Proclamation 572, which voided the amnesty granted to Senator Antonio Trillanes IV.
“Ang totoo niyan ang nagresearch si Calida, like ‘yung kay Sereno,” he said, referring to Ma. Lourdes Sereno who was ousted from the Supreme Court through a quo warranto petition filed by Calida.
“Ito ngayon ang problema. It was Gazmin, whom probably one of those who investigated … then recommended and approved for the amnesty. Ganun yan eh. I hope that it would not get this far. Remember we did not start the ruckus,” the President added.
President Duterte explained the granting of pardon and amnesty as the constitutional mandate of the President.
“It cannot be delegated to anybody else,” he said.
“Pag sinabi ng Solgen may mali, it has to be corrected. I cannot refuse. He is a government lawyer. I cannot insist in the view of the fact it was already recorded as a public paper. Kung sinabi nya, paniwalaan ko,” the President added, referring to Calida.
Duterte said Gazmin had been his friend. Whenever the former military official was in Davao City when he was still the mayor, they talked and drunk.
But Gazmin had explained earlier that the amnesty of Trillanes and other former mutineers went through the proper course.
President Duterte has voided the amnesty given to Trillanes, one of his fiercest critics, via Proclamation No. 572 issued on August 31, citing alleged failure of the legislator to file an application for amnesty and express admission of guilt.
The senator was absolved for his involvement in two failed mutinies in 2003 and 2007, which was staged to protest the alleged corruption during the presidency of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, and was granted amnesty — along with other mutineers — via Proclamation No. 75 issued by Aquino. Mrs. Arroyo is now the Speaker of the House of Representatives.
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