DOJ denies allegations of pressure on judge handling Trillanes' coup case

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Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra (File photo)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, October 14) — The Department of Justice (DOJ) is denying allegations a Makati Regional Trial Court (RTC) judge was being told to rule against Senator Antonio Trillanes' coup d'etat case.

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said Sunday they took "very strong exception" to a statement by Magdalo Partylist Rep. Gary Alejano Saturday who said they received information that Makati RTC Branch 148 Judge Andres Soriano was receiving pressure to give a negative decision against the embattled lawmaker.

"The DOJ does not interact with the judge except through the pleadings filed and arguments raised in open court. 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.

Guevarra added he thought it was unfair for Alejano to constantly make "unfair" statements against the agency.

"Come to think of it, sila yung clearly trying to influence the decision-making ni judge [they are the ones who are clearly trying to influence the judge's decision-making]," he said.

Guevarra went on to say they have not engaged Alejano's side in arguments.

"They're just going a bit too far," he said.

On October 12, Soriano said they may soon release a decision on Trillanes' case.

Should Judge Soriano decide to issue a warrant of arrest against Trillanes, the senator wouldn't be able to file a bail for his temporary release. The non-bailable coup d'etat charges were dismissed in September 2011 after he was granted amnesty by former President Benigno Aquino III. President Rodrigo Duterte, through Proclamation No. 572, voided the granted amnesty on August 31.

Meanwhile, Makati RTC Branch 150 heard the appeal of Trillanes to reverse the court's decision to issue an arrest warrant against the senator. On Sept. 25, Judge Elmo Alameda ordered Trillanes' arrest but allowed him to post a P200,000 bail on a separate case of rebellion.