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Best evidence rule not applicable in amnesty case – Trillanes’ abogado

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By Xave Gregorio

The best evidence rule, which requires the production of original copies of documents in court proceedings where its contents are the subject, is not applicable to the amnesty debacle faced by Senator Antonio Trillanes IV, his abogado said.

Trillanes’ abogado Rey Robles said the best evidence rule is not applicable in this case, as the subject of the inquiry is whether or not the senator filed for amnesty.

“Kung ang pinaguusapan ang laman ng dokumento, ang best evidence eh yung mismong dokumento, ‘di ba. Ang pinaguusapan dito, nag-file ba o hindi. Yung act of physical filing. So lahat ng klaseng ebidensiya dapat tanggapin,” Robles told reporters Friday (October 12) after a hearing at the Makati Regional Trial Court Branch 150.

“In fact, testimonial evidence would be the best evidence. Secondary na lang kung ano yung laman nung dokumento,” he continued.

During the hearing, Branch 150 Judge Elmo Alameda insisted on Trillanes’ camp’s presentation of the original—or even a photocopy—of the senator’s amnesty application form.

“All that the Court wanted was for you to present and that would have ended the proceedings,” Alameda said.

Alameda earlier rejected the affidavits submitted by two former officials of the Department of National Defense amnesty panel, who testified that Trillanes filed for amnesty.

This is why Trillanes’ camp is pushing for Branch 150 to conduct an evidentiary hearing for both sides to present their evidence and witnesses supporting their claims.

“Hindi naman nagkaroon ng pagkakataong mag-presenta ng mga testigo ‘yung mga partido,” Robles told reporters after the hearing.

“Mayroong nire-refer ang Supreme Court (SC) na factual issues. At hindi pwedeng tapusin ‘yun sa isang summary hearing,” he added.

In its September 11 ruling, the SC said it is “appropriate” to allow Makati RTCs Branch 148 and Branch 150 to “resolve the pleadings/motions filed by the parties as regards the legality of Proclamation No. 572.”

A revived rebellion case is being heard by Branch 150, while Branch 148 is yet to rule whether to grant the Department of Justice’s bid for the issuance of an arrest warrant and hold departure order against Trillanes in connection with an already-dismissed coup d’etat case.

Both cases were dismissed in 2011.

The resurrection of the cases stem from Duterte’s voiding of Trillanes’ amnesty through Proclamation No. 572, on claims that he failed to file for amnesty and did not admit guilt to participation in two failed mutinies against former President, now Speaker, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.