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Trillanes camp: Amnesty won’t set bad precedent

October 13, 2010 12:22pm

The camp of detained Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV on Wednesday brushed off fears that President Benigno Aquino III's amnesty proclamation for soldiers involved in three uprisings against the Arroyo administration would set a bad precedent in the Armed Forces and promote "military adventurism."

In an interview on GMA Network's Unang Balita, Trillanes' lawyer, Rey Robles, said the senator's camp respects but disagrees with Sen. Joker Arroyo's statement on Tuesday that Aquino's move might encourage disgruntled soldiers to turn against the government in the future.

"Ginagalang natin ang opinyon niya pero para sa nakararami (We respect Sen. Arroyo's opinion but for many people), enough penalty has been served," Robles said.

Aside from Arroyo, Aquino's proclamation also did not sit well with other lawmakers like Ang Galing Pinoy Rep. Juan Miguel "Mikey" Arroyo, son of Aquino's predecessor, former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagl-Arroyo.

President Aquino's Proclamation 50 covers servicemen who took part in the Oakwood Mutiny in July 2003, collectively known as "Magdalo soldiers"; the Marines standoff in February 2006; and the Manila Peninsula siege in November 2007.

For the proclamation to take effect, it needs the concurrence of Congress.

Trillanes — who held the rank of a Lieutenant Senior Grade while in the Philippine Navy — was involved in the 2003 and 2007 military uprisings. He has been in detention for the last seven years. He won a Senate seat during the May 2007 polls.

He used to be detained at the Philippine Marine Corps headquarters in Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City, but was later transferred to the Philippine National Police (PNP) Custodial Center at Camp Crame in 2007, where he keeps a makeshift Senate office.

Robles expressed doubts that other soldiers would follow Trillanes' supposed "military adventurism," especially after seeing the senator languishing in detention while performing his duties as a lawmaker.

"Hindi naman mae-encourage ang ibang sundalo na gayahin ito dahil nakita natin na nakulong at natanggal sa serbisyo itong involved (Other soldiers won't be encouraged to take up arms against the government because they have seen how those involved were imprisoned and removed from the service)," the lawyer said.

Robles said he was confident the President took into consideration all the implications that come along with giving an amnesty to the accused soldiers.

Moreover, he clarified that the President has the prerogative to extend an amnesty to anyone "even before the filing of cases, during the pendency of the case, even after a conviction, or a pending appeal."

Justice Secretary Leila de Lima earlier said the Makati court hearing Trillanes' coup d'etat charges is expected to promulgate its decision this month.

With Aquino's amnesty proclamation, Robles believed that the case pending before Makati Judge Oscar Pimentel of the Regional Trial Court Branch 148 is already considered "moot and academic."

Trillanes and eight other officers are still facing trial before a court martial in connection with the Oakwood mutiny.

Meanwhile, nine officers are still being tried for charges stemming from the Marine standoff and two others — resigned Army Brig Gen. Danilo Lim and Marine Capt. Nicanor Faeldon — are under litigation over mutiny raps for taking part in the Peninsula Manila siege.

After learning about Aquino's amnesty proclamation, Lim, former Marine Col. Ariel Querubin (who led the 2006 Marine standoff), and other accused members of the Magdalo group expressed willingness to work with the Aquino administration in nation-building efforts. [See: Thankful 'mutineers' vow to help Aquino administration] — Mark D. Merueñas/LBG/RSJ, GMANews.TV

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