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Oops! DOJ says amnesty application form used by Trillanes, 276 others ‘defective’

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By Xave Gregorio

The Department of Justice (DOJ) said the amnesty application form used by opposition Senator Antonio Trillanes IV and 276 other uniformed personnel who participated in three failed mutinies is “defective” as it failed to state what specific crimes they were admitting to.

“Our opinion is that the form itself is defective. The thing there is, it could have been corrected if they were able to show kung mayroon talagang pag-amin,” DOJ Acting Prosecutor General Richard Anthony Padullon told reporters Friday (October 5) after the Makati Regional Trial Court Branch 148’s hearing on Trillanes’ case.

Rebel soldiers involved in the 2003 Oakwood Mutiny, the 2006 Marines Stand-off and the 2007 Peninsula Manila siege were asked in the application form they filled up when they filed for amnesty to check which incidents they took part in and were made to acknowledge that these were done in violation of the 1987 Constitution, the articles of war and the Revised Penal Code.

However, Padullon maintained that this is insufficient as the form did not ask the rebel soldiers to specify the crimes they committed.

“When you admit guilt, you don’t admit guilt to an incident. An incident is not an offense. So as a consequence of that incident, there are crimes for which they were charged. ‘Yun ang sinasabi ng batas na ‘yun ang ia-admit mo kung saan ka guilty,” Padullon said.

Asked if this would also affect the 276 others who applied for amnesty along with Trillanes, Padullon brushed this off as speculative.

“We will not speculate on that. Ang pinaguusapan natin dito is specific individual, we’re confining ourselves to the Proclamation and [President Rodrigo Duterte’s] Proclamation 572 pertains to declaring void ab initio the amnesty of Senator Trillanes,” Padullon said.

Concurrent Resolution No. 4 of the 15th Congress concurring with President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III’s Proclamation No. 75 granting amnesty to participants in the three failed mutinies provides that “no application shall be given due course without the applicant admitting his guilt or criminal culpability of any or all of the subject incidents in writing as expressed in the application.”

But Trillanes’ abogado Rey Robles said, “Wala namang sinasabing specific crime or offense na kailangan.”

Trillanes’ application form, and its apparent absence, is cited in the voiding of his 2011 amnesty by Duterte, who claimed that the senator, who is one of his staunchest critics, failed to apply for amnesty and did not admit guilt to participating in the Oakwood Mutiny and the Peninsula Manila siege.

Trillanes’ camp is trying to debunk this by presenting witnesses who testified that the senator did file for amnesty and satisfied all requirements before Branch 148.

Branch 148 is hearing the DOJ’s motion for an alias warrant and a hold departure order against Trillanes in connection with a revived coup d’etat case.

The case would be submitted for resolution by Wednesday (OCtober 9), after the Trillanes camp files its offer on Tuesday (October 8) and the DOJ files its supplemental offer a day after.