Makati Court revives Trillanes’ rebellion case
The Makati City Regional Trial Court Branch 150 will resume its trial of the rebellion case against Senator Antonio Trillanes IV that it has dismissed seven years ago.
“This court found the granted amnesty to former Lieutenant Senior Grade [now Senator] Antonio Trillanes IV. This court found the existence of factual and legal basis for the issuance of said proclamation by President Duterte,” the court said in the order issued by Judge Elmo Alameda.
“With the revocation of the amnesty to Sen. Trillanes, the resulting consequence is that the Order issued on September 7, 2011 dismissing the case of rebellion becomes void ab initio,” the court further stated.
Proclamation 572 issued by Duterte nullified Proclamation 75 issued by then President Benigno Aquino. Proclamation 75 granted amnesty to Trillanes and other soldiers involved in the 2003 Oakwood mutiny and the 2007 Manila Peninsula siege.
“Unless the Proclamation 572 series of 2018 is declared to be invalid, illegal and unconstitutional by the Supreme Court, it is presumed to be valid and legal,” the Makati Court said.
Prior to the dismissal of the case in 2011 because of the amnesty grant, the prosecution has presented evidence.
The court, in its ruling issued Tuesday, said that based on the motion submitted by the DOJ as well as the pleadings and hearings conducted it agrees that there are valid grounds that require factual determination of the issues involved in the case.
“It turned out, however, from the factual issues established in the motion, pleadings, and hearing that the state would be deprived of due process if the case of rebellion is not revived,” the court said.
Trillanes’ camp argued that the case has long been dismissed and has attained finality.
Lawyer Reynaldo Robles, counsel for Trillanes, earlier said the case long dismissed cannot be revived by the mere stroke of a pen of one individual even if that person is the President.
But the court agreed with the prosecutors that since Trillanes failed to comply with the basic requirements for amnesty, the proclamation issued by Aquino is not binding.
“This court is not unaware of the rule that a final judgment may no longer be altered even if the alteration is meant to correct an erroneous conclusion of fact or law,” the court said.
Citing the Supreme Court ruling on Guevarra vs. Sandiganbayan (GR No. 138792-804, March 31, 2005), the Makati Court pointed out that the state, like the accused, is also entitled to due process of law.
“The court’s jurisdiction over the rebellion case is merely a reiteration of its previous authority to hear and decide the case despite its order of dismissal,” the court said.
Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra, for his part, said that Alameda’s order only confirms that the rebellion case has not been dismissed.
“What is significant here is the case is very much alive,” Guevarra said in a message to reporters. /ee
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