MANILA – Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV has asked the Court of Appeals to stop Makati Regional Trial Court Branch 150 from proceeding with the trial of his rebellion case.
Just days before the trial was set to begin, Trillanes asked the appellate court for a temporary restraining order and/or a writ of preliminary injunction to prevent Judge Elmo Alameda from resuming to receive prosecution evidence in connection with his involvement in the Manila Peninsula siege in 2007.
The rebellion case was dismissed in 2011 following then President Benigno Aquino III’s grant of amnesty to Trillanes.
But Alameda, on Sept. 25 last year, revived the rebellion case and ordered the senator’s arrest after President Rodrigo Duterte issued Proclamation No. 572 voiding Trillanes’ amnesty.
The declaration claimed Trillanes did not apply for amnesty and did not admit to the mutiny and coup d’etat charges against him.
Trillanes posted bail on the same day.
In his 66-page petition, Trillanes accused Alameda of gravely abusing his discretion when he refused to admit the certificate of amnesty issued by the Department of National Defense (DND) and other testimonial and documentary evidence to prove that he indeed applied for and was granted amnesty.
Alameda had said no other evidence should be admitted other than Trillanes’ amnesty application itself and that the senator could not claim any exception to the rule since no evidence was presented that the accomplished application form exists in the files of the DND Ad Hoc Amnesty Committee.
But Trillanes pointed out that the only basis for the government’s position that he did not apply for amnesty is a certification from military officer Lt. Col. Joan Andrade stating that there was “no available copy of his application for amnesty in the records.”
“On cross-examination, Lt. Col. Andrade clearly debunked the baseless assertion of the DOJ that Petitioner Trillanes did not apply for amnesty by readily admitting that it was never her intention to certify or claim that the former did not apply for amnesty,” the petition said.
“Lt. Col. Andrade admitted that, per the records of his Office, Petitioner Trillanes was in fact granted amnesty and that she has no personal knowledge as to whether or not former Accused Trillanes did apply for amnesty,” it added.
Trillanes also challenged the testimony of GMA News Online editor Mark Merueñas, then a defense reporter, whose online article was the sole basis of the government’s claim that Trillanes did not admit his guilt.
He said the testimony was ambiguous and the report confusing while reiterating that news reports are generally regarded as hearsay under the rules on evidence.
Trillanes also faulted Alameda for reviving a case which had long been dismissed, in violation of the doctrine that final and executory cases can no longer be disturbed.
He further questioned Alameda’s decision to uphold the constitutionality of PP 572, which he described as “a very clear transgression by the President of the exclusive power of the judiciary to rule on the legality and/or constitutionality of presidential proclamations…”
He claimed PP 572 violated his rights to due process and equal protection, right against double jeopardy, and the court’s power to issue warrants of arrests, among others.
Aside from his pleas for the issuance of a TRO and injunction, Trillanes also asked the CA to void Alameda’s September 25 and December 18, 2018 rulings.