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Wala namang inamin! DOJ questions Trillanes’ evidence in coup raps

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MANILA — Government lawyers have filed their formal objection before the Makati Regional Trial Court Branch 148 to the documentary evidence filed by Senator Antonio Trillanes IV on defects in the amnesty he availed of in connection with the pending coup d’etat charges against him.

In a 10-page comment, the Department of Justice (DOJ) prosecution panel, led by Senior Deputy State Prosecutor Richard Anthony Fadullon, filed its objection to the documentary exhibits of Trillanes.

Pending before the court is the prosecution panel’s motion for the issuance of a hold departure order and a warrant of arrest against the embattled lawmaker, whom state lawyers argued, had failed to comply with all the requirements for a valid grant of amnesty for acts he committed when he was still in the military.

Among the challenged documents was the original copy of the affidavit of Lt. Col. Josefa C. Berbigal of the Judge Advocate General Services of the Armed Forces of the Philippines dated Sept. 20, 2018.

The prosecution panel said they object to the purpose of the document because “Col. Berbigal failed to substantiate during her testimony on Oct. 5, 2018 her statements in her affidavit that accused Trillanes admitted his guilt to the offenses subject of the amnesty.”

“Instead during her cross examination, she testified that accused Trillanes only admitted guilt to the incidents but not the offenses for which he is being charged,” the prosecution noted, adding that Berbigal’s statement that the application for amnesty was in order, complete and in compliance with all the requirements of Proclamation No. 75 is “misleading.”

The prosecution added that during her testimony, Berbigal could not confirm this allegation by presenting the original, duplicate or photocopy of the application.

The prosecution added that he has no authority to conclude that Trillanes complied with all the requirements of Proclamation No. 75, adding that as mere head of the secretariat, she is not the approving authority to determine who among the applicants are qualified.

The DOJ added that Berbigal had “no authority to administer oath to accused Trillanes because Department of National Defense (DND) Department Order No. 323 specifically provides for a notary public to be assigned at the secretariat who will duly administer the oath of the amnesty applicants.”

They further objected to the testimony of former DND undersecretary Honorio S. Azcueta, noting that the latter “failed to substantiate his claim that he caused the strict compliance with all the requirements set forth by Proclamation No. 75 and DND Circular No. 1.”

The panel also objected to the affidavit of Dominador E. Rull Jr., citing that “it is self-serving and contains baseless and biased statements, the witness being the executive assistant of accused Trillanes,” and had “no authority to determine whether the alleged application form was properly filled up by accused Trillanes.”

Likewise objected to by the prosecution was the affidavit of Emmanuel C. Tirador, a co-accused of Trillanes in the case.

The DOJ also opposed Trillanes’ counsels’ presentation of a blank application form for amnesty, citing that “a mere blank application form cannot prove the existence of a duly filled up application form.”

The form, the prosecution said, “cannot prove admission of guilt by the accused Trillanes… because the same document requires the submission or attachment of a separate narration of facts of his involvement/participation in the offenses by which he is charged.” (PNA)