AFP: Trillanes back to military personnel status

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 4) — As far as the military is concerned, Senator Antonio Trillanes is no longer just a civilian in the wake of a Presidential proclamation.

President Rodrigo Duterte's Proclamation 572 voided the amnesty given to Trillanes in 2011 over a number of mutinies in 2003 to 2007, now the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) believes Trillanes goes back to his military status.

This means the military has jurisdiction over the senator.

When asked for the legal basis behind this, AFP officials said they were simply interpreting the proclamation.

AFP Spokesperson Col. Edgard Arevalo said, "'Yung sa amin is based on our opinion and our understanding... Ngayon kung merong issue with regards if it's correct, whether he's supposed to be back to military control o hindi, that can always be challenged before the court."

[Translation: We are basing it on our opinion and understanding... Now if there are issues on whether it's correct and he's supposed to be back to the military control or not, that can always be challenged before the court.]

Trillanes was a Navy lieutenant when he got involved in military uprisings during the Arroyo administration. He faced criminal and administrative charges over his involvement in the Oakwood and Manila Hotel mutinies.

He resigned from the military when he ran for the Senate.

The Department of National Defense (DND) said Trillanes could be tried again before a court martial, and previous legal cases against him would continue.

In fact, there is an order to convene a general court martial to hear Trillanes' cases.

The military certified there is no available copy of the senator's amnesty application, which is also stated in the proclamation.

Defense officials could not answer how such documents could have gone missing, but said they are continuing to look for these papers.

DND Spokesperson Arsenio Andolon said, "We are still looking for the documents that (a) certification was issued a little earlier, but we have not exhausted all our efforts to find it."

The DND said, as a military personnel facing trial, Trillanes should be detained at the AFP custodial center, but the Senate is insisting it has jurisdiction over the senator.

The AFP said this was an issue that should be threshed out between Malacañang and the Senate, and they would just follow instructions handed down to them.

In an interview with CNN Philippines Tuesday, however, former President Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III said Trillanes qualified and did file for amnesty.

"As far as our records are concerned, he did apply. And that it was deliberated by the DND ad hoc committee, and it is embodied in Resolution No. 2. And the summary of all these deliberations by that ad hoc committee was sent to me on January 25, 2011," Aquino said.

The Justice Department also asked a Makati court to issue a hold departure order against Trillanes Tuesday.

The motion filed at Branch 48 of the Makati City Regional Trial Court said Trillanes has the means and resources to flee the country and escape prosecution.

"It is, therefore, imperative a hold departure order (HDO) be issued directing the commissioner of the Bureau of Immigration (BI) to prevent him from leaving the Philippines during the pendency of this case," the motion read.

Senate President Tito Sotto, meanwhile, said they would not allow Trillanes to be arrested within Senate premises.

"To preserve the dignity of the Senate, we have to not allow any senator to be arrested in the Senate premises. Outside the Senate premises, that's no longer our concern, but within the Senate premises, that's the decision of the leadership," he said to members of the media.

He added they could not allow any senator to be arrested within the Senate premises unless they voluntarily agree.

He cited the case of Senator Leila de Lima, who went home to collect her things and was arrested there.

Senators Migz Zubiri and Ping Lacson said senators have all agreed that no arrest should happen within Senate premises.

Trillanes camp may file charges

Meanwhile, Trillanes' lawyer, Atty. Rey Robles said they're studying what case to file and where to file it.

He maintained the impending arrest of the opposition senator has no legal basis.

"(There is) no factual and legal basis. Even assuming there is factual basis, when the amnesty is granted, the offense is obliterated. It's legally obliterated. It's forward looking as if no case was filed at all. Hindi na pwede nang buhayin yan [It cannot be resurrected]," he told members of the press Tuesday evening.

He added, "'Yun nga kukwestyunin natin yan sa proper forum at ang pag aresto na wala namang warrant at walang kasong nakasampa."

[Translation:We will question it at the proper forum, as well as the plan to arrest without a warrant and no case filed.]

Magdalo Partylist Rep. Gary Alejano said Trillanes would spend the night in his office at the Senate, adding they were talking to their lawyers about legal actions to pursue.

Supporters and colleagues have started to visit Trillanes at the Senate.

Among those who arrived were Senator Cynthia Villar and AFP's Judge Advocate General Cil. Serme Legaspi Ayuyao.

Trillanes' camp refused to disclose the details of Ayuyao's visit.

CNN Philippines' Makoi Popioco contributed to this report.