Hot Breaking News for Filipinos

Ano ba talaga? Ex-DND ad hoc panel officials butt heads over Trillanes amnesty application


by Xave Gregorio

Two former officials of the Department of National Defense ad hoc panel tasked to screen amnesty applications contradicted each other before the Makati Regional Trial Court Branch 148 on what happened to Senator Antonio Trillanes’ amnesty application form.

Lieutenant Colonel Josefa Berbigal, who was head of secretariat of the committee, and panel chair former Department of Justice (DOJ) undersecretary Honorio Azcueta did not agree on where Trillanes’ application form went after it was filed on January 5, 2011.

During the seven-hour hearing Friday (October 5) of DOJ’s motion for an arrest warrant and hold departure order against Trillanes, Berbigal said she gave the senator’s amnesty application to Azcueta for forwarding to then-Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana.

However, Azcueta later said that he sent back Trillanes’ application to the secretariat after they were done deliberating on it.

Berbigal and Azcueta also do not agree whether the application forms were photocopied or were presented in their original form for deliberation of the amnesty panel.

Berbigal said it was photocopied, while Azcueta said they looked at the original documents while screening it.

As it appears that there is confusion as to where Trillanes’ amnesty application went, his abogado, Rey Robles said those responsible for the apparent misplacing of the application form must be held accountable — not the senator.

“Hindi naman siguro tama na ‘yung beneficiary ng amnesty ang magdudusa at posibleng makulong nang walang piyansa dahil mayroong nakawala nung records niya,” Robles told reporters after the hearing.

While DOJ Acting Prosecutor General Richard Fadullon said it is clear that Berbigal and azcueta were amiss in safekeeping Trillanes’ amnesty application, he still insisted that with the form still missing, the senator’s camp still cannot prove that he applied for amnesty.

“Kung sinasabi na may application, ‘Ako ang tumnggap, binigay ko kay ganito,’ malinaw, madaling maituro kung nasaan ang dokumento niya ngayon. Pero walang makapagturo sa kanila at walang makapagsabi,” Fadullon said.

But Berbigal and Azcueta, along with GMA News Online News Editor Mark Merueñas, who testified for the prosecution, all said that Trillanes did apply for amnesty.

Merueñas, who covered Trillanes’ amnesty application, told Branch 148 that he saw the opposition senator file for amnesty.

However, this was also challenged by the prosecution, with Fadullon asking him if it was possible that Trillanes filed something other than the amnesty application.

Trillanes’ purportedly missing application form is cited as proof that he failed to file for amnesty, which is one of the grounds for President Rodrigo Duterte’s declaration of his amnesty as void from the start.

Branch 148 is set to decide on the matter after Trillanes’ camp files its offer on Tuesday (October 4) and the prosecution to file a supplemental offer on Wednesday (October 5).

Should it decide in favor of the DOJ’s motion, it would re-open an already-dismissed coup d’etat charge against Trillanes, which would land him back in jail.