Trillanes takes amnesty fight to Supreme Court to nullify Duterte order

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 6) — Senator Antonio Trillanes IV on Thursday sought the intervention of the Supreme Court to challenge President Rodrigo Duterte's order to void his amnesty and order his arrest.

Trillanes' legal counsel filed a petition for certiorari, prohibition and injunction of Duterte's proclamation as the senator seeks refuge inside the Senate premises to avoid an arrest.

"We are questioning the proclamation of the president revoking the amnesty granted to Senator Trillanes. We believe it's unconstitutional for a number of grounds," lawyer Rey Robles said.

He said Proclamation Order No. 572, which was signed by Duterte on August 31, violated the right to due process, equal protection, double jeopardy, and separation of state when he decided to void the amnesty without the concurrence of the Congress, which is mandated under the Constitution. 

He said the petition aims to point out to the high court that a president has no power to withdraw an amnesty.

 

Duterte's order said the amnesty granted to Trillanes was void from the start because he did not comply with the minimum requirements to qualify under the Amnesty Program. It said Trillanes never admitted guilt for the coup attempts and failed to formally apply for amnesty.

The Supreme Court now is headed by Chief Justice Teresita Leonardo de Castro, who was recently appointed by President Duterte after the historic ouster of the president's "enemy," Maria Lourdes Sereno.

Makati Regional Trial Court Branch 148 is set to hold a hearing on the Justice Department's motion to issue an alias warrant and a hold departure order against Trillanes.

During the administration of former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, Trillanes, a former naval officer, was involved in three mutiny attempts: Oakwood mutiny in July 2003, the Marines stand-off in February 2006, and the Manila Peninsula incident in 2007. Trillanes and the other Magdalo soldiers involved were jailed but freed under an amnesty granted in 2011 by President Benigno Aquino III.

Malacañang said the Aquino administration erred in giving Trillanes amnesty, a claim that Aquino denied in an interview with CNN Philippines Tuesday. Aquino said Trillanes filed and met the requirements for amnesty.