CA upholds Makati court’s decision not to arrest Trillanes over coup d'état case

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, June 9) — Former Senator Antonio Trillanes IV has scored another win against the government after the Court of Appeals affirmed a 2018 ruling not to revive the coup d'état case against him.

In a 67-page decision dated May 31 and released to the media on Wednesday, the CA upheld the verdict of Judge Andres Soriano of the Makati Regional Trial Court Branch 148 to junk the Department of Justice's petition to have Trillanes arrested.

The non-bailable coup d'état charges against the ex-lawmaker were dismissed in September 2011 after he was granted amnesty by former President Benigno Aquino III.

Some seven years later, in August 2018, President Rodrigo Duterte revoked this amnesty through Proclamation No. 572. Duterte cited his vocal critic's supposed failure to comply with requirements for the granting of the official pardon.

However, based on Soriano’s ruling — which was sustained by the CA — Trillanes did adhere to the requirements, which include the filing for an amnesty application in the prescribed form and admitting guilt for his participation in the 2003 Oakwood Mutiny, among others.

“Therefore, it cannot be said that the grant of amnesty in favor of private respondent was validly revoked,” the CA said.

“As a result, the charges against private respondent in connection with the offenses ‘forgotten’ or forgiven by the amnesty must be necessarily dropped,” it added.

Trillanes thanked the justices’ decision, saying it is a victory against what he calls the Duterte government’s "weaponization" of the law.

“Nagpapasalamat ako sa mga Court of Appeals Justices sa pagtataguyod ng hustisya sa gitna ng mga baluktot na paggamit ni Duterte ng batas laban sa mga miyembro ng oposisyon,” he said.

[Translation: I would like to thank the Court of Appeals justices for upholding justice amid Duterte’s crooked ways in using the law to target members of the opposition.]

He also expressed gratitude to Soriano for “standing firm in favor of the truth and against the oppression by the Duterte administration.”

Last month, the CA also ruled in favor of Trillanes as it reversed a separate Makati court ruling that revived his rebellion case.