President Rodrigo Duterte said Saturday that he does not have the power to refuse the request of Solicitor General Jose Calida regarding the initiative to revoke the amnesty of Senator Antonio Trillanes IV.
Speaking at the Davao City Airport during his arrival from his trip to Jordan, Duterte said, "How can I refuse? He is the government lawyer ... I have to enforce the law."
He admitted that Calida had initiated the research on the circumstances of the granting of amnesty to Trillanes, after the former Navy official's involvement in the 2003 and 2007 attempts to destabilize the government.
On August 31, Duterte signed Proclamation No. 572, which declared the amnesty extended to the opposition senator void because he failed to comply with the "minimum requirements to qualify."
Early last week, Armed Forces of the Philippines spokesperson Colonel Edgard Arevalo admitted that Calida had started the inquiry, triggering the review of the amnesty given to Trillanes.
Arevalo, along with Department of National Defense spokesperson Arsenio Andolong and DND Internal Audit Service chief Atty. Ronald Patrick Rubin, admitted they were not familiar with the procedure that took place before they assumed their current posts.
Earlier, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra also said the review of Trillanes' amnesty "might have been" carried out by the Office of the Solicitor General.
When asked about it, Calida has repeatedly kept mum, insisting on the lawyer-client privileged communication.
The Calida-Trillanes spat had begun when the senator moved to investigate possible conflict of interest in Calida and his family's security agency's multimillion-peso contracts with government agencies.
Calida had sought a temporary restraining order barring Trillanes from conducting his "void" intended legislative inquiry into Vigilant Investigative and Security Agency, Inc's (Vigilant) contracts with state offices.
Since last Tuesday, Trillanes has been holed up in the Senate premises, after learning that Duterte issued Proclamation 572, stating that the amnesty accorded him was voided, and led to an order for his arrest.
He was granted amnesty by President Benigno Aquino III in 2011, after he applied for it following his participation in attempts at destabilizing the government under the administration of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
The senator's camp has asked the Supreme Court to stop the military and the police from arresting the senator.
Upon his arrival from Jordan, Duterte also reiterated his stance that he would abide by the decision of the high court on Trillanes' case. —LBG, GMA News