Where are the case records of Trillanes? At the ‘bodega,’ says judge
The Makati Regional Trial Court, the prosecution, and the camp of Senator Antonio Trillanes IV have a common mission: to reconstitute the Trillanes rebellion case after President Rodrigo Duterte revoked the amnesty given to the Senator.
Makati RTC Branch 150 is set to continue with the presentation of evidence for the 2007 Manila Peninsula siege, but Presiding Judge Elmo Alameda said he will not set the date yet for the presentation of evidence until the motion for reconsideration filed by the senator is resolved.
The court affirmed the validity of Duterte’s order revoking the amnesty given to Trillanes by former President Benigno Aquino III. It then ordered the senator’s arrest and placed him on hold departure order. A P150,000 bail was set and was paid for the Senator’s temporary liberty.
Trillanes filed a motion for reconsideration seeking a reversal of the Makati court’s ruling.
“The court will not set a schedule for the presentation of evidence in chief until the court has resolved the motion for reconsideration,” Alameda said during Wednesday’s trial.
He asked the prosecution how many witnesses were presented before the case was dismissed in 2011, but the prosecution was not able to give a definite response.
Alameda then asked his staff if the case records were archived in the computer or stored in the ‘bodega’ (storage room).
“We are trying to find all the records [but] nasa bodega na. We were only able to retrieve some of the records,” Alameda said.
The prosecution said they are conducting an inventory of the records and vowed to furnish the court a copy if they are found.
Meanwhile, Trillanes counsel, lawyer Reynaldo Robles, said it is standard practice to “archive” records of cases that have been resolved. “Yung iba nga dinidispose na (Others are disposed),” he said.
Robles said disposing of the records of resolved cases after three to five years is standard practice in government offices and private law firms.
“Kaya nga the court is asking the parties if we have the complete transcript kasi according to the honorable court itself, ilang volumes lang ang narecover. Kahit nga prosecution not sure kung kumpleto ang transcript nila. Nagko konsultahan pa kami,” Robles told reporters.
(That is why the court is asking if we have the complete transcript because according to the honorable court they can only recover several volumes. Even the prosecution is not sure if they have a full transcript. We are still consulting each other.)
Based on Administrative Matter (A.M.) No. 07-03-09-SC, “the court records, papers and exhibits subject of the disposal and/or destruction must pertain to cases terminated for at least five years.”
The following are exempted from this rule: land registration or big land cases, which include those covered by the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program Law; naturalization cases; cases with penalties of death, reclusion perpetua and life imprisonment and all special proceedings except for the issuance of the writs of amparo and habeas corpus.
The Trillanes case was dismissed in 2011 or seven years ago and there was no appeal, so it has become final, according to Robles. But the records remain in the “bodega.”
“The court said we will cross the bridge when we get there,” Robles said quoting Judge Alameda.
“In criminal cases pag-dismiss na hindi na nabubuhay iyan so hindi nakakapagtaka na iyong record hindi na kumpleto (In dismissed criminal cases, it’s not surprising if the records are no longer complete),” he added. /ee
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