Photo from THEPHILBIZNEWS
Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV vowed that he will run after the officials of the administration if they will continue to stand by President Rodrigo Duterte’s Proclamation No. 572.
“When the time comes, I will really run after them if they insist in this stupidity,” Trillanes said in Filipino to during in a televised interview.
Specifically, he mentioned Solicitor General Jose Calida and Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra, who, according to Trillanes, are “supposed to protect rights” even of people from the opposition.
“They should be disbarred from practicing the legal profession,” the Senator added.
Duterte issued Proclamation No. 572, claimed that Trillanes, a grantee under former President Benigno Aquino III’s Proclamation 75, did not file an official amnesty application form.
DOJ Secretary Guevarra who is currently government’s officer-in-charge while Duterte is still out of the country explained on Tuesday that upon their review, it was discovered that Trillanes allegedly failed to comply with requirements for amnesty—a claim denied by the senator.
However, Gueverra also admitted that the documents they are holding now is still the old document and they are still digging up the old files way back 15 years ago.
See related story: DOJ admits possessing old documents against Trillanes
Legal experts Antonio La Viña and former Solicitor General Florin Hilbay have expressed their opinion.
La Viña, who is former Dean of the Ateneo School of Government said the amnesty granted by former President Benigno Aquino III to Trillanes and other soldiers was already final and cannot be overturned. While Aquino’s former SolGen Hilbay said if Duterte wants to revoke Trillanes’ amnesty, he should go to court.
The DOJ insisted that Trillanes did not file for amnesty application, and therefore was not qualified for it, news reports and videos have appeared on social media showing him filing the application.
The DOJ also said the president has the power to revoke amnesty any time. But La Viña replied by asking, “Will future presidents now (be able to do the same) if they do not like the political leanings of a person then find some defect in the process?”
“This is goes beyond the issue between Senator Trillanes and way beyond the Duterte administration,” he added.
For rebel groups negotiating peace with the government, La Viña said Trillanes’ case sends a chilling message that the state can easily run after you should you go against it. To which Hilbay agreed by saying, “That’s clear, they are trying to look at all possible technicalities to justify a ground for nullification.”
Meanwhile, the Justice Chief also noted that the government lawyers who were involved in the review but Calida kept mum on his agency’s involvement. But Col. Edgard Arevalo, AFP spokesperson, however said that Calida inquired and requested for Trillanes’ amnesty documents.
Trillanes felt that it was a retaliation of Calida against him because he initiated probe on the alleged conflict of interest on the part of Calida’s stock ownership of a security agency that grabbed multi-million contracts with several government agencies.
The Senator’s legal team is set to take his case to the Supreme Court.
Before he ended the press conference, Trillanes said to those who are allowing themselves to be used by President Duterte that the President will not be in power forever. “Kapag wala na si Duterte, nobody will protect them,” he said.