Drilon: Appeal on Trillanes case bound to fail
Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon believes that any move to reverse a Makati court’s decision on Senator Antonio Trillanes IV case is bound to fail.
Drilon explained that the Supreme Court can no longer disturb the “factual findings” by Makati Regional Trial Court Branch 148, citing the jurisprudence that the “Supreme Court is not a trier of facts.”
“Well-settled is the rule that the Supreme Court is not a trier of fact,” Drilon, former Justice Secretary, said in a statement on Tuesday.
“The Supreme Court cannot assume the role of trier of facts which, by law and jurisprudence, belongs to the lower courts,” he added.
On Monday, the lower court denied the Department of Justice’s motion to order Trillanes’ arrest for non-bailable coup d’état charge since the case has long been dismissed already.
Drilon said Trillanes’ case was “undeniably a question of fact.”
“Factual findings of the lower courts are entitled to great weight and respect on appeal, and in fact accorded finality when supported by substantial evidence on the record, as stated in the case of Xentrex Motors, Inc. v. Court of Appeals (353 Phil. 258, 262 1998) and in a long line of other cases,” he said.
The Senate Minority Leader pointed out that in the case of Trillanes, the lower court has affirmed the fact that the latter had validly complied with the requirements for his amnesty application.
Trillanes’ alleged failure to comply with amnesty requirements was used by President Rodrigo Duterte as basis for revoking the senator’s amnesty and ordering his arrest by reviving the rebellion and coup d’état charges against the former mutineer.
“I do not see how this finding can be disturbed by the Supreme Court especially considering that the original decision of Makati RTC Branch 148 attained finality seven years ago,” Drilon said.
“It is a well-entrenched ruling that factual findings of the lower courts are given the highest degree of respect and great weight by appellate tribunals because they are in a better position to examine the real evidence and observe the demeanor of witnesses.”
“It is clear from Judge Soriano’s decision that he carefully considered the testimonies of the witnesses, taking pains to detail the significant portions of their statements which led the Judge to his decision,” Drilon also said.
He was referring to Makati RTC Branch 148 Judge Andres Soriano, who penned the 33-page decision on Trillanes’ case.
Hence, Drilon believes the high tribunal would be “hard-pressed” to overturn the ruling of the lower court.
“Any petition or appeal must then fail,” he further said. /kga
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