Panelo: Case may be filed vs Gazmin over Trillanes’ amnesty mess
Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo on Monday said he believes that former defense secretary Voltaire Gazmin may be held liable for “usurpation of authority” when he recommended and approved the amnesty granted to Senator Antonio Trillanes IV.
“It’s the President that should grant amnesty, it’s for them (Department of National Defense) only to evaluate… He’s (Gazmin) responded by saying ‘approved,’ I’ve granted the amnesty per his letter to the (former) President (Benigno Aquino III),” Panelo said in an interview over CNN Philippines.
Asked if a case should be filed against Gazmin, Panelo said: “I think so, but it’s the Solgen’s (Solicitor General) call.”
It was President Rodrigo Duterte who first revealed Gazmin’s alleged liability in the senator’s amnesty issue.
Duterte, in a speech on Saturday in Davao City, said Gazmin, who served during the administration of Aquino, recommended the grant of amnesty to Trillanes and the others involved, and “approved it himself.”
“You know he (Gazmin) recommended that a general amnesty be given and then after his recommendation, he approved it. Siya mismo nag-grant, siya mismo nag-recommend. Bakit mo pa ire-recommend, ikaw lang pipirma,” he said.
“So what’s the crime of Volts? Usurpation of authority,” he added.
The President explained that the power to grant amnesty is a presidential prerogative and “cannot be delegated to anybody else.”
In a proclamation last August 31, Duterte ordered the revocation of Trillanes’ amnesty for failing to meet the necessary requirements.
The proclamation 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.” /je
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