No pressure on court to rule vs. Trillanes: DOJ
By Christopher Lloyd Caliwan
MANILA (Philippines News Agency) — Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra on Sunday denied allegations that the government is pressuring the Makati City Regional Trial Court (RTC) to issue an arrest warrant and hold departure order against Senator Antonio Trillanes IV.
Guevarra said the Department of Justice (DOJ) “does not interact with the judge except through the pleadings filed and arguments raised in open court,” referring to Branch 148 Judge Andres Soriano, who handles the coup d’ etat charges against Trillanes.
This was Guevarra’s reaction to the statement of Magdalo party-list Rep. Gary Alejano’s that they have received information on government’s supposed pressure on Soriano to rule against Trillanes.
“Rep. Alejano’s allegations tend to impede the orderly administration of justice, unfairly cast aspersion on the integrity and professionalism of the Department of Justice and its state prosecutors, and contumaciously influence Judge Soriano’s decision-making process,” Guevarra said in a message sent to reporters.
He added that it is the camp of Trillanes who appears to be pressuring the judge with such insinuation.
Guevarra also lamented how the other camp has made such allegation when the DOJ has been very careful in observing sub judice rule on this case.
“I just find it unfair that Sen Trillanes’ camp continually makes unfair statements against our side. come to think of it, sila yung (they are) clearly trying to influence the decision-making ni (of) Judge. The DOJ has not engaged them in sub judice argumentation in the media, but they’re just going a bit too far,” he told reporters.
Soriano has conducted hearings and is expected to rule on the plea of the DOJ to issue arrest warrant and hold departure order against Trillanes in the coup d’etat case over the 2003 Oakwood mutiny after President Duterte voided the amnesty granted to the senator by the previous administration.
Last Friday, Soriano said 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, the judge also “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.
Meanwhile, Makati RTC Branch 150 Judge Elmo Alameda, who handles the rebellion charges against the lawmaker, gave Trillanes’ camp 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.
Two of these uprisings — the Oakwood mutiny in July 2003 and the Manila Peninsula siege in November 2007 — were led by Trillanes, who was then a Navy lieutenant senior grade.
In 2011, the trial court dismissed the case against Trillanes and the other Magdalo soldiers by virtue of the amnesty given by former president Benigno S. Aquino III through Proclamation 75 issued in November 2010.
State prosecutors said with the proclamation issued by President Rodrigo Duterte, the court’s order of dismissal issued seven years ago is considered void.
In President Duterte’s Proclamation 572 issued on Aug. 31, Trillanes’ amnesty was declared void ab initio (from the beginning).
Duterte said Trillanes failed to present the necessary requirements in the application of the amnesty for the Oakwood Mutiny, the Marine stand-off and the Manila Peninsula siege. (PNA)