Makati court wraps up Trillanes’ coup d’ etat case
The Makati City Regional Trial Court Branch 148 has submitted for resolution the bid of the Department of Justice (DOJ) to revive the coup d’ etat case against Senator Antonio Trillanes IV.
Trillanes, along with other Magdalo soldiers, is facing charges for for coup d’ etat in connection with the 2003 Oakwood mutiny.
Of the soldiers who participated in the mutiny, Army Captains Gerardo Gambala and Milo Maestrecampo together with Alvin Ebreo, Laurence Louis Somera, Albert Baloloy and John Andres, 1Lt. Florentino Somera, 2Lt. Kristoffer Bryan Yasay and 1Lt. Cleo Dongga pleaded guilty to the crime of coup d’ etat.
Both Gambala and Maestrecampo were sentenced to up to 40 years imprisonment while the others were sentenced to up to 12 years imprisonment. They were eventually pardoned by then President, now House Speaker, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
The others accused, on the other hand, pleaded not guilty to the offense. However, promulgation of the case was stopped and the case was dismissed after Trillanes and several soldiers availed of the amnesty granted by then President Benigno Aquino III.
Army 1Lt. Lawrence San Juan and 1Lt. Rex Bolo, who did not avail of the amnesty, were convicted but the conviction was reversed and they were eventually acquitted by the Court of Appeals.
With the revocation of the amnesty granted to Trillanes, the DOJ, in its motion, asked the Makati Court to order the rearrest of the senator and proceed with the promulgation of the case.
A hearing was conducted and Trillanes submitted a supplemental comment/opposition which included affidavits of the military officials who received the senator’s application for amnesty.
The amnesty was revoked by virtue of Proclamation 572 issued by President Rodrigo Duterte citing Trillanes’ alleged failure to submit an application form and admit his guilt.
In its reply to Trillanes’ supplemental comment, the DOJ said the affidavit of Col. Josefa Berbigal who received the supposed application form did not categorically state that part of what she has received was Trillanes’ narration of facts detailing his participation in the mutiny.
“Thus, the foregoing statement of Col. Berbigal is not accurate, if not downright false,” the DOJ said.
On the other hand, the DOJ said the affidavit of former Defense Undersecretary Honorio S. Azcueta, who stated that they have deliberated on the merits on the applications for amnesty, is contrary to the certification of the Defense Department that it has no record of any deliberation on Trillanes’ application for amnesty.
The DOJ added that since the reason for the dismissal of the coup d’ etat case is void, the judgment “is not entitled to the respect accorded to a valid judgment but may be entirely disregarded.”
Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said the reply to the supplemental comment of Trillanes is the last pleading to be submitted before the court.
“[The] coup d’ etat case is now submitted for resolution,” he added. /ee
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