Trillanes to Duterte: You don't control defense dept., insiders gave me documents

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 6) — Senator Antonio Trillanes IV on Thursday claimed insiders from the Department of National Defense (DND) are helping him fight President Rodrigo Duterte's order to invalidate his amnesty.

Trillanes said "friends and supporters in and outside the defense establishment" gave him documents to prove that he filed an application for amnesty in 2011. He presented these papers in a press briefing at the Senate to debunk Malacañang's claim his amnesty was void from the start because he did not formally apply for it.

Trillanes said some insiders from the DND and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) disagree with Duterte and do not want the defense force to be used for politics.

"Hindi niyo hawak yung DND at AFP (You do not fully control DND and AFP)," Trillanes said, addressing the Duterte administration.

"Maraming tumutulong kasi ayaw nila na nagagamit yung AFP dito sa political exercise na 'to (Many are helping out because they do not want AFP to be used in this political exercise)," he added.

He said some members of the Armed Forces were "extremely bothered" by Duterte's Proclamation No. 572, which invalidated his amnesty and ordered his arrest. "Maraming naghe-hesitate (many are hesitating) to follow illegal or even just political orders."

Trillanes is staying at the Senate building in Pasay City to avoid any possible arrest, while the Justice Department has asked the Makati Regional Trial Court to issue an alias warrant and hold departure order against the senator.

Documents in favor of Trillanes

Trillanes said he now has documents to shame the Duterte administration.

The soldier-turned-lawmaker presented to the media a January 25, 2011 letter, signed by then Defense Chief Voltaire Gazmin, stating that 38 military officers and 53 enlisted personnel involved in mutiny attempts against former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo were all qualified for amnesty. The letter was addressed to then President Benigno Aquino III.

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An attached resolution of the DND's ad hoc committee showed that Trillanes was among those who applied for amnesty on January 5, 2011. Trillanes, a former naval officer, was involved in the Oakwood mutiny in July 2003, the Marines stand-off in February 2006, and the Manila Peninsula incident in 2007.

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"As far as I can remember all those who were granted amnesty went through the process. I am getting in touch with the Ad hoc committee so that facts can be refreshed as these happened many years ago," Gazmin said in a text message.

Aquino, in his Proclamation No. 75 in 2010 tasked the DND to receive and process the mutineers' applications for amnesty.

But Duterte's Proclamation No. 572, published in newspapers last Tuesday, said Trillanes failed to comply with the minimum requirements for amnesty since he never admitted guilt for the coup attempts, and failed to take an oath and formally apply for amnesty. These are claims Trillanes had debunked by presenting videos and documents related to the filing of his application.

Trillanes on Thursday said his admission of guilt was already included in his application form, a copy of which neither he nor the Defense Department has found.

He showed to the media a blank application form, which he said was similar to the one he signed in 2011. "I hereby acknowledge that my involvement/participation in the subject incidents constituted a violation of the 1987 Constitution, criminal laws and the Articles of War. I hereby recant my previous statements that are contrary, if any, to this express admission of involvement/participation and guilt," the document read, listing the three coup attempts.

 

The DND said it is still looking for the documents Trillanes allegedly submitted for his amnesty application. It also said court martial proceedings are underway to put Trillanes under trial again for military uprisings against the Arroyo administration.

Roque: Trillanes should present documents

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque told CNN Philippines it is Trillanes, not the DND, who should prove he indeed filed for amnesty.

"Siya po talaga ang dapat magpakita na meron siyang ganyang aplikasyon (He really should prove he had that application)," Roque said, saying there is "presumption of good faith" on the part of the government.

 

He also said Trillanes should have specifically admitted to the crimes he committed, for his amnesty to be considered valid.

Trillanes' camp on Thursday questioned Duterte's proclamation before the Supreme Court.