What happened to 36 witnesses vs Trillanes? Ex-senator’s lawyer wonders
MANILA, Philippines — Since retrial on the rebellion case against former senator Antonio Trillanes IV started early this year, government prosecutors have yet to present a single witness from the list they have submitted before Makati City Regional Trial Court Branch 150.
“Are they dispensing with the presentation of the previous witnesses listed because we don’t understand why they cannot present those witnesses considering that substantial time has elapsed since the case reopened,” Trillanes’ counsel, Atty. Reynaldo Robles, told reporters Monday.
“There is no reason for them not to be able to communicate with these individuals,” he added.
He said it isn’t fair for the prosecution to add new witnesses without appropriate notice.
“It violates the rights of the accused to due process of law,” he pointed out.
The prosecution has so far presented only one witness since, and that was Assistant State Prosecutor Mary Jane Sytat during a hearing in July. She is not included in the list submitted to the Makati court.
Last July 22, the prosecution announced that its next witness will either be Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Chairman Danilo Lim or former Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) Director Nicanor Faeldon.
However, during Monday’s hearing, the prosecution cited communication problems with Faeldon due to conflict in the Senate’s investigation about the good conduct time allowance (GCTA) mess.
Instead, the prosecution has brought in court GMA TV reporter Tina Panganiban-Perez to testify on the video footage of her coverage of the 2007 Manila Peninsula siege.
Robles opposed the presentation of the new witness because Perez and two of her colleagues were not in the original list of witnesses submitted by the prosecution.
The court gave Trillanes through Robles 10 days to submit their comments on the presentation of new witnesses.
The next hearing is set on November 18. /kga
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