Justice Chief: DOJ, not SolGen, to decide next move on Trillanes case

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, October 23) — Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said it is up to his department to decide on the government's next move after a Makati court junked their plea to have Senator Antonio Trillanes IV arrested.

"It is the DOJ who will decide what legal step to take," Guevarra said in a text message to reporters on Tuesday.

His message contradicted the statement of Presidential Spokesperson Sal Panelo that Solicitor General Jose Calida is preparing to take the fight to the Court of Appeals, where he will seek the reversal of Makati judge Andres Soriano's decision issued on Monday.

Acting Prosecutor General Richard Fadullon said the DOJ is looking into the possibility of either filing a motion for reconsideration, going to the Court of Appeals, or bringing the case to the Supreme Court.

"If it's a question of law, we can bring that up to the Supreme Court to question. Hopefully to have it reversed so the judge would reconsider 'yung order," he told CNN Philippines on Tuesday.

He said they would ask the court to reconsider its decision not to re-open Trillanes' coup d'etat case, which was dismissed in 2011 when he was granted amnesty.

It is unclear why the DOJ is eyeing this move since their plea to Judge Soriano - which the judge rejected - was to issue an arrest warrant and hold departure order for Trillanes after President Rodrigo Duterte voided the amnesty granted to him by former President Benigno Aquino III.

Fadullon said Soriano's decision was "neither here nor there" because while the judge said Duterte's proclamation voiding Trillanes' amnesty was valid, Soriano also said that he cannot undo the 2011 decision granting amnesty to Trillanes because it was final, immutable and executory.

Guevarra said pursuing the case against Trillanes was not a waste of time as it could deter those who are planning to stage a coup d'etat against the Duterte government.

"We're sending  warning signals to other potential rebellion, sedition, and coup d' etat plotters... Pursuing one to answer for the crime of rebellion or coup d' etat is not a useless exercise, as it sends a warning signal to all similarly minded persons who have devious plans of endangering the security of the republic," he said.

Soriano decided not to re-open the case, saying he has no jurisdiction over it because it was already dismissed before, and that such a decision is considered final and executory and is immutable.

Panelo said if Soriano believes that he had no jurisdiction over the matter, then he should have dismissed the petition early on.

"I'm wondering why, because -- that would mean it has no jurisdiction of the case. But then it took jurisdiction and in fact the parties submitted their respective positions and evidence. If it has no jurisdiction,the court should have dismissed outright the motion filed by the court," he said in a media briefing.

The next move remains unknown for now, but what is clear is the government is eager to see Trillanes behind bars.