IBP urges courts to keep independence amid Trillanes case
A national organization of lawyers on Monday called on the courts to resist collateral attacks on its judgments and maintain independence following the revocation of amnesty given to Senator Antonio Trillanes IV as well as moves to revive two cases that have been dismissed seven years ago.
“An independent and impartial judiciary remains the most powerful bastion that protects our cherished constitutional rights against excesses of political power,” the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) led by its national President Atty. Abdiel Dan Elijah Fajardo said in a statement.
IBP is a mandatory organization of lawyers with more than 50,000 members.
Trillanes and other Magdalo soldiers were charged with a case for coup d’etat before Makati Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 148 for the Oakwood mutiny in 2003 and a case for rebellion before Makati RTC Branch 150 for the 2007 Manila Peninsula siege.
In 2011, Trillanes and the other rebel soldiers were given amnesty by then-President Benigno Aquino III.
Both the two cases were dismissed in 2011 following the grant of amnesty.
A court martial is pending before the Armed Forces, where proceedings for articles of war violations were reportedly only suspended.
Last August 31, President Rodrigo Duterte issued Proclamation 572 revoking the amnesty given to Trillanes alleging that he failed to comply with the basic requirements of submitting an application form and admitting his guilt.
“The IBP views with deep concern the position being peddled to the public that records of the Executive Branch can be used to overturn final dismissals of criminal charges by our courts,” said the IBP.
“Arresting and incarcerating Senator Trillanes for offenses dismissed by amnesty runs roughshod over the constitutional guarantee against double jeopardy that no person shall be held to answer twice for the same criminal offense,” it added.
The IBP explained that an amnesty is an exercise of sovereign power and recipient of the amnesty stands before the law as though he had committed no offence.
The IBP issued the statement even as Trillanes brought the case before the Supreme Court and the Makati RTC Branch 148 has started considering the petition of the Department of Justice for the issuance of a hold departure order and an alias warrant against the senator.
The IBP said “chaos that may result from the endeavors to bring Senator Trillanes to face ‘justice’ ironically undermines our systems that make the orderly administration of justice possible.” /cbb
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