Trillanes arrest warrant submitted for court’s resolution
By Benjamin Pulta
MANILA (Philippines News Agency) — The Makati court hearing the coup d’etat charges against Senator Antonio Trillanes IV said that the government’s motion for the issuance of an arrest warrant and hold departure order against the lawmaker is “considered now submitted for resolution.”
In his resolution, Makati regional trial court Branch 148 Judge Andres Soriano also ruled that it “noted” the objections made by prosecutors on the documentary evidence submitted by Trillanes’ counsels “without prejudice to the determination of the probative value of said exhibits”.
The court ruled to deny outright the admission of two exhibits marked “9” and “12”, which are printouts of the Facebook page of the Department of National Defense and printouts of ‘throwback’ photographs of Trillanes. “The court notes the same and hereby denies admission of the said exhibits considering that it was never presented and identified any defense witness in court, nor did they form part of the official records of the court,” it said.
Meantime, Judge Elmo Alameda of the Makati Regional Trial Court Branch 150 hearing the rebellion charges against the lawmaker said it is giving Trillanes’ lawyer, Reynaldo Robles, five days to file a reply to the prosecution’s opposition to the motion for reconsideration filed by the defense on the issuance of the arrest warrant against the lawmaker in that case.
In a 10-page comment to the Makati RTC Branch 148, the Department of Justice (DOJ) prosecution panel, led by Senior Deputy State Prosecutor Richard Anthony Fadullon, earlier filed its objection to the documentary exhibits of Trillanes.
Among the challenged documents was the original copy of the affidavit of Lt. Col. Josefa C. Berbigal of the Judge Advocate General Services of the Armed Forces of the Philippines dated Sept. 20, 2018.
The prosecution panel said they object to the purpose of the document because “Col. Berbigal failed to substantiate during her testimony on Oct. 5, 2018 her statements in her affidavit that accused Trillanes admitted his guilt to the offenses subject of the amnesty.”
“Instead during her cross examination, she testified that accused Trillanes only admitted guilt to the incidents but not the offenses for which he is being charged,” the prosecution noted, adding that Berbigal’s statement that the application for amnesty was in order, complete and in compliance with all the requirements of Proclamation No. 75 is “misleading.”
The prosecution added that during her testimony, Berbigal could not confirm this allegation by presenting the original, duplicate or photocopy of the application.
The prosecution added that she has no authority to conclude that Trillanes complied with all the requirements of Proclamation No. 75, adding that as mere head of the secretariat, she is not the approving authority to determine who among the applicants are qualified.
The DOJ added that Berbigal had “no authority to administer oath to accused Trillanes because Department of National Defense (DND) Department Order No. 323 specifically provides for a notary public to be assigned at the secretariat who will duly administer the oath of the amnesty applicants.”
They further objected to the testimony of former DND undersecretary Honorio S. Azcueta, noting that the latter “failed to substantiate his claim that he caused the strict compliance with all the requirements set forth by Proclamation No. 75 and DND Circular No. 1.”
The panel also objected to the affidavit of Dominador E. Rull Jr., citing that “it is self-serving and contains baseless and biased statements, the witness being the executive assistant of accused Trillanes,” and had “no authority to determine whether the alleged application form was properly filled up by accused Trillanes.”
Likewise, objected to by the prosecution was the affidavit of Emmanuel C. Tirador, a co-accused of Trillanes in the case.
The DOJ also opposed Trillanes’ counsels’ presentation of a blank application form for amnesty, citing that “a mere blank application form cannot prove the existence of a duly filled up application form.”
The form, the prosecution said, “cannot prove admission of guilt by the accused Trillanes… because the same document requires the submission or attachment of a separate narration of facts of his involvement/participation in the offenses by which he is charged.” (PNA)