Duterte says no “interest” in arresting opposition senator
SENATOR Antonio Trillanes IV’s camp admitted before the Makati Regional Trial Court Branch 150 on Friday, September 14, that it can no longer locate a copy of the senator’s amnesty application form.
Makati RTC Judge Elmo Almeda asked Trillanes’ legal counsel Reynaldo Robles to show the court a copy of the form in question.
“The court needs the actual application,” Alameda ordered.
The former naval officer’s camp, however, failed to show this important document before the court as reported by the Philippine Daily Inquirer.
“He cannot find his copy,” Robles admitted.
Alameda said that a copy of the application would serve as the primary proof that the senator has complied with the basic requirements for amnesty.
The judge went on to say that “the court is not after secondary evidence.”
Robles instead showed the court video footage of the actual filing of application form before a certain Col. Josefa Berbigal.
The judge, however, then claimed that the said video was not authenticated.
The lawyer also added supplementary evidence, such as Trillanes’ amnesty certificate, photos of the Senator holding a copy of his application form published in the Inquirer, and the memorandum to the Department of National Defense Ad Hoc Committee.
Robles promised the court that they will still present additional proof to authenticate their evidence. The opposition senator’s camp planned to secure an affidavit from Berbigal, who received the application as shown in the said video.
The court, in turn, asked the prosecution from the Department of Justice (DOJ) on its proof that Trillanes failed to comply with the amnesty requirements.
The prosecution led by Acting Prosecutor General Richard Anthony Fadullon and Senior State Prosecutor Juan Pedro Navera showed that they secured a certification from Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of the Discipline, Law and Order Division Lt. Col. Thea Joan Andrade noted. The certificate claimed that there is no available copy of Trillanes’ application form.
“That is your basis in concluding that court’s dismissal is void?” Alameda inquired.
The prosecutors also showed news articles indicating that Trillanes did not admit guilt even after he was granted amnesty. Fadullon said they will submit more evidence to support their case in the next hearing.
Robles responded to the prosecution’s evidence, stating that it was insufficient since it only accounts for the absence of a copy and not entirely the failure to comply with the application requirements.
“Col. Andrade’s certification did not also state that Senator Trillanes did not file an application form but only mentioned that there is no available copy of his application for amnesty in the records,” Robles said.
He also noted that the Department of National Defense (DND) and Solicitor General (SolGen) Jose Calida might be behind the missing copy.
“Kung ang nakawala ay DND at meron pang suspetya kung sino nakawala dahil sinasabi ng Secretary of Defense kinuha daw ng SolGen (If the DND lost it and there is suspicion on how it was lost since the Secretary of Defense said that the Solicitor General took it),” Robles said.
The lawyer did not dismiss the possibility that the document was intentionally misplaced and that the storage of official documents is not entirely reliable.
“Parang winala talaga diba? Dapat sila ang managot infidelity in the custody of official documents (It appeared that it was deliberately misplaced. They should be held accountable for infidelity in the custody of official documents),” Robles added.
The senator on Friday said he will continue to stay inside his Senate office until the courts rule on his amnesty. He has been there since Tuesday of last week following President Rodrigo Duterte voiding the amnesty.
The day before, Duterte told reporters that there is no interest in having Trillanes arrested.
“The military does not have the interest. I don’t have the interest. He can stay there (the Senate) as a boarder,” Duterte said according to various reports.
The president added that he won’t arrest “until there’s a warrant.”