Duterte can’t meddle with judiciary — Saguisag
President Rodrigo Duterte cannot interfere with the decisions of the judiciary on pushing for the arrest of Senator Antonio Trillanes IV.
Former Senator Rene Saguisag made this remark on Friday, as he underscored the separation of powers between the three branches of government – executive, legislative, and judiciary.
Saguisag, a political detainee during the Marcos martial rule, issued these assertions moments before Makati Regional Trial Court Branch 148 ordered a deferral on the release of an arrest warrant against Trillanes. The court instead called for a hearing on the coup d’état case against the senator on October 5.
“Hindi [ito] pwedeng pakialaman ng Pangulo dahil meron tayong separation of powers (The President cannot meddle with this case because we have separation of powers),” Saguisag stressed in a press briefing, even emphasizing that Mr. Duterte belongs to the executive branch of government.
According to Saguisag, former President Ferdinand Marcos’ leadership was marred with violations on the separation of powers tenet as the late strongman assumed all authorities of the three government branches.
Saguisag also said the Department of National Defense should be the one to produce the senator’s amnesty papers, which it said were missing, and not Trillanes.
“Hindi kasalanan ng aplikante kung nawala ng custodian (It’s not the fault of the applicant if the custodian lost it),” he said. “No one among us na ganoon na katagal (that long) would keep a copy of it.”
Saguisag then questioned the person who might be behind the missing documents.
“Ang tanong dito (The question here is), who has the motive, authority, and means na ipawala ‘yung dokumento (to order the loss of documents)?” he said. “Sinong may motibo, sinong may otoridad, sinong may kakayahan (Who has the motive, who has the authority, who has the capability) … na iwala yung application (to order the purposeful loss of the application)?”
Last August 31, Mr. Duterte issued Proclamation No 572, revoking the amnesty of
Trillanes. The presidential order claimed that the senator’s amnesty was void ab initio because he allegedly failed to submit an application for amnesty and admit his guilt over the uprisings against the administration of then-President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
Mr. Duterte later admitted that it was Solicitor General Jose Calida who found out about the flaw on Trillanes’ amnesty.
“Ang totoo niyan ang nag-research si Calida, like ‘yung kay Sereno (The truth is Calida did the research, as he did in the case of Sereno),” he said, referring to Ma. Lourdes Sereno who was ousted as Supreme Court chief justice through a quo warranto petition filed by Calida.
“Pag sinabi ng SolGen [Solicitor General] na may mali, and this has to be corrected, I cannot refuse,” Duterte said during a press conference at his arrival in the Philippines from his trip to Israel and Jordan. “Lalo na in view of the fact that it was already recorded as a public paper. Kung ano ang sinabi niya doon, ‘yun ang paniwalaan ko.”
The Office of the Solicitor General’s official website describes a Solicitor General as “the principal law officer and legal defender of Government.” Cathrine Gonzales, INQUIRER.net
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