SolGen ready to defend presidential order to void Trillanes' amnesty

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Senator Antonio Trillanes, a staunch critic of President Rodrigo Duterte, believes Jose Calida was involved in reviewing his amnesty.

Dumaguete City (CNN Philippines, September 7) — The government's top lawyer said he was willing to defend the presidential proclamation voiding from the start the amnesty of Senator Antonio Trillanes even at the Supreme Court.

Trillanes believes Calida was involved behind the President's order.

"We are ready to defend the proclamation of the President in any venue, even at the Supreme Court (SC)," Solicitor General Jose Calida said during celebrations of the Civil Service Month in Dumaguete City.

Trillanes is making a similar intervention before the SC, saying he is confident the high court will rule in their favor.

"My lawyers have been briefing me about the approaches to this legal problem. I'm very very confident that my lawyer, Atty. (Rey) Robles presented a very strong case," he said Friday.

But Trillanes said the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) will try to maintain its professionalism as a "united" body, even though Duterte is commander-in-chief. He then said in order to reconcile the chain-of-command, a temporary restraining order (TRO) such as the one Trillanes sought from the SC should work.

"A TRO will give them a way out, a face-saving measure," he said.

Calida reiterated that President Rodrigo Duterte's Proclamation No. 572 invalidates the amnesty Trillanes received in November 2010 from then President Benigno Aquino III as no rights have been conferred to him in the first place.

"It was a political arrangement of that administration," he added.

Trillanes, a staunch critic of Duterte, believes Calida participated in reviewing his amnesty application. On September 4, he held a Senate Civil Service and Government Reorganization inquiry into the security firm of Calida's family after it entered into millions-worth of contracts with various government agencies.

But on the same day, the signed proclamation was published in newspapers, which voided Trillanes' amnesty and rendered him subject to arrest.

Unverified reports of his planned arrest floated as early as Thursday evening using a warrant from a court martial, after a Makati court held off issuing one upon the request of the Department of Justice.

READ: AFP: Trillanes back to military personnel status

Calida argued that the AFP Custodian under the Personnel's office (J1), found out that there was no record of Trillanes' application for amnesty.

"About two years ago there were complaints, that the granting of this amnesty was irregular. So there was an investigation conducted," he said.

The Solicitor General previously led a quo warranto petition against then SC Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, which led to her ouster last May. Calida had argued that her appointment was not valid, rendering her appointment as chief magistrate null and void.