Voiding Trillanes' amnesty and reopening court cases will lead to government 'instability' says Drilon - The Daily Sentry

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Voiding Trillanes' amnesty and reopening court cases will lead to government 'instability' says Drilon

Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV | Sen. Franklin Drilon | Photo from The Philippine Star

Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon on Thursday claimed that reopening the dismissed cases of opposition Senator Antonio Trillanes IV will produce instability in the government.

"If we allow this, it will create such instability and then you can no longer rely on the officials acts of government, including, in this particular case, the executive, the legislative and the judiciary – all three branches of government. Can you imagine the instability that it will cause the society?”

A proclamation by President Rodrigo Duterte has invalidated the grant of amnesty to the mutineer-turned-lawmaker in 2011 for failure to comply with its minimum requirements, such as filing an Official Amnesty Application Form and admitting guilt over crimes committed when he participated in military uprisings.

Drilon, stressed that if the validity of the amnesty extended to Trillanes, which was dismissed seven years ago, is considered void ab initio and the cases are reopened, it would trigger a review of the amnesties granted by the government.

Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV | Photo from Asian Policy

"It cannot be reopened…Otherwise, there will be no more stability in our society, there will be no more stability in our system because 7 years after it’s decided, you go back and say ‘Ay, mali yan.’ What will happen?"Drilon said in an interview at ANC's Headstart.

"The validity of the amnesty was decided 7 years ago...there’s no more debate. The stability in our system requires that there must be finality in the orders of the court so that people will follow what the decision was because otherwise, magkakagulo tayo dito," he pointed out.

He also said that an amnesty is "an act of the President, not the person of the president," and added that it should be "binding on the whole government" otherwise there is something erroneous on the proclamation.

"It is an act of the executive branch, of the Office of the President so that it should be binding on the whole government unless there is something erroneous, especially on this case, when the court has passed upon the validity, especially in this case,” he said.

Drilon pointed out the stability in the country’s system requires finality in terms of the orders of the court in order for the people to follow on what has been decided because if it turns out otherwise "magkakagulo tayo dito.”

He said an amnesty is concurred in by Congress and to say that it could be withdrawn unilaterally by the president will “put to naught all these institutions.”

Drilon opines that the government granted amnesties to members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) when in its signed peace agreement process with these rebel groups.

“Think of the policy implications. We have signed a peace agreement with the MILF. We signed a previous peace agreement with the MNLF. There were amnesties granted. These were concurred in by the Congress,” he said

Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV | Photo from Adobochronicles

"I don’t think it is a correct proposition to say that we can revoke this because this is a recipe for instability. We must be able to rely on the policy issued, consistent with the Constitution and concurred with by the 2 branches of government," he said.

He also don't believed that the amnesty application availed by Trillanes was erroneous as the court "“had gone over the validity of the application and found it valid.”

“There was a judgment that has long become final dismissing the cases. I will repeat, among us lawyers there is supposed to be a final judgment. This is already a final judgment. In terms of validity, it can no longer be questioned,” Drilon said.

“There is a presumption of regularity in the performance of official functions, especially in this case. The presumption of regularity is supported by documentary evidence,” he reiterated.

Drilon also debunks the remarks made by Department of Justice (DOJ) Secretary Menardo Guevarra that Trillanes' mistake that leads to this proclamation was because of non admission to the crime.

“I will not even debate on that. What I am emphasizing is all of these defects were known when the application for amnesty was filed; all these defects were known to the court when the dismissal of the cases were sought. It was known then and the court passed upon this,” he said.

“That should settle all debates on this issue, because there was already a final judgment. There must be an end to every litigation; otherwise you will be forever fighting and litigating with each other unless you accept the proposition, which all lawyers accept, that a final judgment with an entry of judgment is the final act that should settle all disputes,” he added.

Trillanes, who was a former Navy lieutenant and other military officers had twice mounted a military upsrising against the unsuccessful attempts to overthrow the Arroyo administration over alleged corruption.

Sen. Trillanes has challenged President Duterte’s order to nullify the amnesty granted to him asking the High Court for a temporary restraining order against the implementation of the proclamation No. 572.

While Vice President Leni Robredo believed that this action of President Duterte against his colleagues in the opposition was another move to silence his vocal critics.

Former President Benigno Aquino, granted the amnesty to Trillanes and several other military rebels in 2011, leading to his release from detention.


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Source: news.mb.com.ph