Is Malacañang targeting Trillanes? Roque, yes; Guevarra, no
Malacañang admitted on Wednesday that it singled out Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV when President Rodrigo Duterte voided the former military rebel’s amnesty and ordered his arrest.
Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said the President scrapped only Trillanes’ amnesty and not those of other amnestied military mutineers because he was the acknowledged leader of Magdalo, a group of junior military officers who rebelled against former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
Roque cited “reasonable basis” as an exception to the equal protection clause in the 1987 Constitution.
“And I dare say that the fact that [Trillanes] is the acknowledged leader of the Magdalo mutineers is a reasonable basis for singling him out,” Roque said on a cable news program.
“In effect what we are sending, the message the government is sending is, it’s enough that we punish the leaders, we will not bother the rank and file,” he said.
But Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra insisted that the administration was not singling out Trillanes, as it would review the amnesty granted to other military mutineers.
“We’re not saying the government is picking on him, no, and being selective,” Guevarra said.
“Just so happened that he’s the most vocal and he’s the leader of the pack, so to speak. So, it was just natural, if not logical, to start with him,” he added.
The President voided Trillanes’ amnesty on Aug. 31, claiming the former Navy junior officer did not apply for it nor admitted guilt in the attempts to overthrow Arroyo. —With reports from Vince F. Nonato, Leila B. Salaverria and Jeannette I. Andrade
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