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Trillanes, 16 others in Makati standoff ask court to junk rebellion case

December 28, 2007 1:05pm

Opposition Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV, along with 16 other people accused in the November 29 Makati standoff, asked the court on Friday to dismiss rebellion charges against them and reconsider its earlier ruling which found probable cause for the complaint.

In a telephone interview, lawyer Ernesto Francisco, who represents the 17 petitioners, told GMANews.TV that the motion for partial reconsideration was filed at about 11 a.m. before the sala of Judge Elmo Alameda of the Makati Regional Trial Court Branch 50.

The Makati court on December 13 said it found probable cause for the issuance of a commitment order against the men, who took over the Peninsula Manila Hotel in Makati City on November 29.

"(We) respectfully move for the partial reconsideration of the Honorable Court's Order dated 13 December 2007 insofar as it found probable cause for the issuance of a commitment Order against the said accused and, further, to dismiss the instant case charging the crime of rebellion for lack of probable cause," the accused individuals said in the petition.

Aside from the neophyte senator, other military officials and enlisted men who petitioned for the dismissal include Capt. Gary C. Alejano, Ltsg. James Layug, Ltsg. Manuel G. Cabochan, Ltsg. Eugene P. Gonzalez, 2Lt. Jonnel P. Sanggalang, Ltsg. Andy G. Torrato, Ltjr. Arturo S. Pascua, Jr., Ens. Armand Pontejos.

Capt. Segundino P. Orfiano, Jr., 1Lt. Billy S. Pascua, CPL. Clecarte D. Dahan, PFC. Juanito S. Jilbury, PFC. Emmanuel C. Tirador, PFC. German M. Linde, Julius J. Mesa, and Cesari Yasser Gonzalez.

In their motion for partial reconsideration, Trillanes and his co-accused maintained that no crime of rebellion was committed last November 29 and that such a charge was "absurd and hilarious."

Francisco said that the soldiers walking out of a Makati court hearing, marching towards the posh Makati hotel before holding a press conference to air their grievances against the administration was but a legitimate exercise of the people's freedom of speech.

A rebellion, Francsico explained, would be "akin to a civil war with an armed public uprising of a substantial number of rebels."

But in the six-hour Makati standoff, Francisco argued that while firearms believed to be owned by the Magdalo soldiers were recovered, not a single gunshot was fired by Trillanes, Brig. Gen. Danilo Lim, and the other military and former military men.

"Is mere possession of firearms by a handful of military men marching in the streets or joining a press conference inside a five-star hotel a rebellion?" the petition read.

Francisco cautioned that subsequent reports that would show that the said firearms were tested as being fired will already be a "fabrication."

He also told GMANews.TV that members of the National Police's Criminal Investigation and Detection Group effected a "mass illegal arrest" when they collared even those who were not included in the arrest warrant issued by Judge Oscar Pimentel.

Lim's counsel Vic Verdadero will also be filing a similar motion for reconsideration later in the day, added Francisco. - Mark Merueñas, GMANews.TV
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