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Duterte revokes Trillanes' amnesty


President Rodrigo Duterte has revoked the amnesty given to opposition Senator Antonio Trillanes IV in 2010 in connection with his involvement in unsuccessful attempts to overthrow the Arroyo administration.

Duterte's action was confirmed to the media on Tuesday by Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra.

Signed by Duterte on August 31,  2018, Proclamation No. 572 stated that the amnesty extended to Trillanes was void from the start because he did not comply with the "minimum requirements to qualify under the amnesty proclamation."

The President cited a certification from the Armed Forces of the Philippines' Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Personnel that there is no available copy of Trillanes' application for amnesty.

Trillanes, a former Navy officer before entering politics in 2007, has also "never expressed his guilt" for the crimes committed in line with the Oakwood Mutiny in 2003 and Manila Peninsula Siege in 2007, the proclamation said.

"Despite former LTSG (Lieutenant Senior Grade) Trillanes IV’s failure to apply for amnesty and refusal to admit his guilt, his name was nonetheless included among those granted amnesty pursuant to Department of National Defense [DND] Ad Hoc Committee Resolution No. 2 approved by former Secretary of National Defense Voltaire T. Gazmin," the proclamation stated.

In response, Trillanes said contrary to what Duterte claims in Proclamation 572, he applied for amnesty and complied with all the requirements.

"Ito ay isang malaking kalokohan. Alam niyo po hindi naman ako bibigyan ng amnesty kung hindi ako nagcomply sa mga requirements," Trillanes told reporters in the Senate.

The senator branded Duterte's move to revoke his amnesty as a political persecution.

Duterte has already directed the Department of Justice and Court Martial of the AFP to pursue all criminal and administrative cases filed against Trillanes in connection with the Oakwood and Manila Peninsula incidents.

The President also ordered the AFP and the Philippine National Police to arrest Trillanes “so that he can be recommitted to the detention facility where he had been incarcerated for him to stand trial for crimes he is charged with.”

"This proclamation shall take effect immediately," the document stated.

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra, who was designated officer-in-charge while Duterte is on official visit to Israel, said Trillanes can already be arrested.

"I guess all of these [cases] would have to proceed and if taking him into custody is an automatic effect of that, then so be it," Guevarra told Palace reporters.

Trillanes and the other Magdalo soldiers were able to avail of amnesty by virtue of Proclamation 75, issued in November 2010 by then-President Benigno Aquino III. They filed their amnesty application before the DND on January 5, 2011.

That proclamation granted amnesty to all active and former personnel of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and their supporters, who committed acts or omissions punishable under the Revised Penal Code, the Articles of War or other special laws related to the following:

  • the July 27, 2003 Oakwood Mutiny;
  • the February 2006 Marines Stand-Off;
  • the November 29, 2007 Manila Peninsula Incident, and/or related incidents "provided that amnesty shall not cover crimes against chastity and other crimes committed for personal ends."

Aquino's amnesty proclamation was then sent to Congress which then gave its concurrence.

Trillanes is a vocal critic of Duterte's controversial war on drugs and his policy on the South China Sea dispute.

The lawmaker had also openly accused Duterte of corruption, a charge the President repeatedly denied.

Senate President Vicente Sotto III said Tuesday he will wait for an official copy of the presidential proclamation.

"The Senate will make a collegial reaction. I have no personal comment," Sotto said in a text message to GMA News Online. —With a report from Amita Legaspi/KBK/KG/MDM, GMA News