Babalik sa kulungan! Duterte voids Trillanes’ amnesty
By Xave Gregorio
President Rodrigo Duterte signed an executive order revoking the amnesty granted by President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III to opposition Senator Antonio Trillanes IV, declaring it void from the start.
Duterte, in Proclamation No. 572, published in full in The Manila Times on Tuesday (September 4), said “the grant of amnesty to former LTSG Antonio Trillanes IV under Proclamation No. 75 is declared void ab initio because he did not comply with the minimum requirements to qualify under the Amnesty Proclamation.”
Duterte ordered that Trillanes be arrested and be placed in a “detention facility where he had been incarcerated for him to stand trial for the crimes he is charged with.”
He also ordered the Department of Justice and the Court Martial of the Armed Forces of the Philippines to pursue all criminal and administrative charges against Trillanes in relation to the Oakwood Mutiny and the Manila Peninsula siege.
However, GMA News Online reported in 2011 that Trillanes availed of amnesty and agreed to a “general admission of guilt” that they violated military rules and the Revised Penal Code.
But citing the same report, Duterte pointed out that Trillanes was not admitting guilt to the mutiny and coup d’etat charges lodged against them in civil and military courts.
“I would like to qualify that we did not admit to the charge of ‘coup d’etat’ or anything na finile sa amin because we believe hindi iyon ang nararapat na charge na ginawa sa amin,” Trillanes was quoted saying in the report.
Article VII, Section 19 of the Constitution states that the President, subject to the concurrence of all members of Congress, may grant reprieves, commutations and pardons, and remit fines and forfeitures after conviction by final judgment.
It does not say whether Congress’ concurrence is also needed when revoking an amnesty order.
Trillanes, along with his fellow mutineers, were charged with rebellion in 2007 over the Oakwood Mutiny, which aimed to oust then-President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
Aquino, through Proclamation No. 75, granted amnesty to Trillanes and 50 other military personnel in October 2010 who took part in the Oakwood Mutiny in 2003, the Marines standoff in 2006 and the Manila Peninsula siege in 2007.
Congress concurred to Aquino’s amnesty proclamation in December 2010.