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DOJ: Trillanes amnesty void from the beginning

by Marje Pelayo   |   Posted on Tuesday, September 4th, 2018

(File photo) Senator Antonio Trillanes


MANILA, Philippines – Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra clarified on Tuesday (September 4) that the amnesty granted to Senator Antonio Trillanes IV was null and void from the beginning.

“It is actually nullified or declared void ab initio…as if it never existed, never been valid for non-compliance with certain mandatory requirements,” Guevarra said in a press conference amid the chaos after the issue was published on a newspaper of general publication on Tuesday.

Guevarra explained that under Proclamation No. 75 or the General Proclamation of Amnesty issued by the Aquino administration in 2011, a person accused of rebellion like Trillanes should submit under oath an official application for amnesty. Also, there should be an admission of guilt to qualify for such which, the DOJ claimed, Trillanes failed to accomplish.

Following the turn of events, the DOJ is now drafting a formal request to the Makati Regional Trial Court Branch 148 to issue an alias warrant of arrest for the senator.

Meanwhile, Solicitor General Jose Calida denies hand on the matter contrary to the accusations of Trillanes that he masterminded his arrest.

“I don’t know about that. He’s not the judge. He’s not a prosecutor so if he wants to file cases, let him file a case,” Calida said.

Trillanes believes that the sudden move of voiding the amnesty granted to him has something to do with the Senate inquiry into the alleged irregularities in the government contracts won by Calida’s family-owned security firm which he (Trillanes) led also on Tuesday. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Mai Bermudez)

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Envoy rebuked for ‘reward’ remarks of Duterte’s Japan trip – SOJ Guevarra

by Marje Pelayo   |   Posted on Wednesday, May 29th, 2019

Philippine Ambassador to Japan Jose Laurel V | Courtesy: PCOO

MANILA, Philippines – Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra told reporters Wednesday (May 29) that Philippine Ambassador to Japan Jose Laurel V was admonished for his claims that the Japan trip was President Rodrigo Duterte’s post-election reward to his Cabinet members.

Guevarra has been assigned officer-in-charge of the Executive Department while the President is on an official visit to Japan.

READ: Duterte’s Japan trip not a ‘reward’ for Cabinet officials — Malacañang

The Justice Secretary said Laurel was rebuked by Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea for that matter.

“He has already been rebuked by the Palace. Let’s wait and see if there’ll be any further action by the President or by the SFA,” Guevarra told reporters in a text message.

“Rebuked in the sense of being strongly contradicted or corrected, but not in the sense of being scolded,” he added.

However, Guevarra did not give direct answer if Laurel will be relieved from his position because of the issue.

Meanwhile, the post of anti-Duterte blogger Jover Laurio, which shows celebrities present in the said trip, has earned hundreds of shares.

Among the celebrities was Philip Salvador.

Laurio’s post invited reactions by asking netizens where they think the celebrities could have possibly gotten the funds for the trip.

But Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo was quick to argue that the celebrities “came to Japan on their own accord.”

“Ask them why they are here. They are the credible source of your information. Mine will be speculative,” he said in a statement.

In has to be recalled that President Duterte signed on March 15, 2019 an executive order which specifies certain individuals who are not entitled to government funding for foreign travels.

These include private individuals and the spouses or children of government officials “except when diplomatic protocol or established international practices provide otherwise.”

Executive Order Number 77 was issued as part of the government’s campaign against corruption and formally ban government junketeers or the use of public funds for pleasure trips.

It is also clear in Section 9 of E.O. 77 that: “All forms of travel junkets shall be strictly prohibited. The conduct of strategic planning workshops or team building activities abroad shall not be allowed.”

The EO said government officials are allowed to have local or foreign travels and assignments only if it is essential to the effective performance of their mandates or functions; it has a substantial benefit to the country; their presence is critical to the outcome of the activity; and the projected expenses are not excessive or involve minimum expenditure.

Also, any foreign travel by a government staff must be approved by the Office of the President, the Department Secretary, and the heads of their respective agencies.

They must also submit a report of the outcome of their foreign travels if they are partially or fully sponsored by a private corporation or individual.

Likewise, no official or personal travel of government officials and employees shall be funded directly or indirectly, fully or partially, by private individuals with pending requests or applications or future dealings with any government agencies.

It can be recalled that President Duterte sacked a number of government officials due to alleged junkets such as the former chairperson of the Presidential Commission for the Urban Poor Terry Ridon; former Dangerous Drugs Board Chairman Dionisio Santiago; former Maritime Industry Authority Administrator Marcial Quirico Amaro III among others. (with details from Rosalie Coz)

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Alias Bikoy’s new allegations must bear strong evidence – Sen. Lacson

by Maris Federez   |   Posted on Thursday, May 23rd, 2019

Peter Joemel Advincula alias Bikoy

Senator Panfilo Lacson believes that Peter Joemel Advincula, alias Bikoy, must present strong evidence to back up his new allegations.

READ: Peter Joemel Advincula alias Bikoy surrenders to PNP

Lacson said it is now up to the Philippine National Police to investigate Bikoy’s allegations which now implicate Senators Antonio Trillanes IV and Risa Hontiveros.

Bikoy claimed that the two lawmakers are the ones behind him in his earlier statements accusing President Rodrigo Duterte and those close to him to be involved in the illegal drug trade.

Lacson said there is a serious problem on Bikoy’s credibility.

As a former law enforcement officer who has first-hand experience in intelligence gathering and investigation, Lacson said Bikoy’s mere statement is not enough.

“Bikoy has to show more than just a narration of what he says now as the real facts,” Lacson added.

The former PNP chief said Bikoy needs to present solid evidence to back up his claims against the personalities who, he claimed, have met with him several times.

“He suffers from a serious credibility problem that he must overcome if he wants to be believed this time. He can only do it by presenting solid and substantial proof of his alleged meetings and regular communication with the people that he is now turning the tables on,” Lacson said.

Meanwhile, in a statement made by Senator Trillanes, he denied the allegations made by Bikoy.

The statement reads, “I deny the allegations made by this Bikoy character. This could be another ploy of the administration to harass the opposition. For now, I will be consulting with my lawyers so that we could also file the appropriate charges against him.”

Senator Francis Pangilinan also released a statement repudiating Bikoy’s claims.

“Wala kaming ugnayan sa video at kay Bikoy. Kasinungalingan lahat ang mga paratang na yan. Gawa-gawa lang ng Administrasyon. Laging dinadamay ang LP sa mga ouster plot na gawa-gawa lang para pagtakpan ang mga palpak at kurakot sa Administrasyon,” Pangilinan said.

He added, “kahit ang pagpatay kay Rizal aaminin ng testigo na yan sa takot sa maaring gawin ng Administrasyon sa kanya o sa mga mahal niya sa buhay. Uulitin ko. Walang kinalaman ang LP sa Bikoy video. Kasinungalingan at gawa-gawa lamang ang mga paratang na ito.”

Otso Diretso candidate, Atty Chel Diokno also made a statement on Bikoy.

“Ang FLAG ay hindi abogado ni “Bikoy.” Inilapit sa FLAG ang kaso, pero tumanggi ang FLAG, kaya ang naging sagot namin ay sa IBP na lang siya lumapit. Karaniwan namang ginagawa ito ng mga abogado pag tumanggi silang tanggapin ang isang kaso,” the statement reads.

On the other hand, Cong-Elect Paolo Duterte, the first person named in the “Ang Totoong Narcolist”, has released a statement on Bikoy’s recent confession.

“From the very start, it was clear that the Bikoy videos were fabricated with a narrative taken straight from the playbook of people whose desire is to destroy our name and our reputation,” the new lawmaker said.

He added, “All the lies presented were also meant to crush the trust of the Filipino people in the authorities and inspire public disgust against the government — truly the handiwork of people who want to undermine the Duterte administration.”

The young Duterte said, “Without a doubt, as I have said before, Senator Antonio Trillanes was behind it. And now that many names have also surfaced, to include Sen. Risa Hontiveros and several lawyers, I believe a proper investigation is in order.”

Senator-elect Bong Go, another personality mentioned in the Bikoy video, also aired his opinion on this development.

“Hindi ko ikinagulat ang pagbaliktad ni Bikoy sa isang press conference ngayong umaga dahil alam ko sa simula pa lang na pawang kasinungalingan ang lahat ng sinabi niya laban sa kay Pangulong Duterte, sa kanyang pamilya at sa akin,” the new Senator said.

Go also said, “Nakakalungkot nga lang malaman na kung sino pa yung mga sinasabing ‘disente’ na nagmamalinis sa ating lipunan ay sila pa ang may pakana ng maruruming paninira sa kapwa tao.  Hindi ito ang uri ng pamumulitika na natutunan ko kay Pangulong Duterte. Hindi ito ang uri ng pamumulitika ng isang simpleng probinsyanong gaya ko na walang ibang hangad kundi pagserbisyuhan ang kapwa ko Pilipino.”

Go said that he has already forgiven Bikoy.

“Masakit ang ginawa ni Bikoy sa akin.  Sa kanyang mga kasinungalingan at paninira sa akin, pinapatawad ko si Bikoy bilang isang Kristiyano.  Subalit, bilang isang Pilipino, hahayaan ko ang ating mga otoridad na gawin ang kanilang katungkulan sa anumang pananagutan niya sa batas,” he added.

Go further said, “While I urge our authorities to respect all the constitutional rights of Bikoy, I must also say that the country needs to know the whole truth.  After all, the truth will set us free. May panahon din ito. Naniniwala ako na bilog naman ang mundo.”

Even Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio said her piece on Bikoy’s claims.

“Bikoy is a scam created by people who oppose the Duterte administration. This group is so disorganized they cannot even get to first base because the path to their objective is in disarray. Kung ako leader ng grupo na ito, I will shoot myself in the head, get rid of the brain that is not useful,” the local chief executive said.

Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Sec. Martin Andanar, meanwhile, also expressed his opinion on Bikoy.

“The turn of events have made this drama more interesting. Now its Bikoy’s words vs Sen. Trillanes and the Liberal Party’s. Im going to the grocery to buy popcorn,” said Andanar. (with details from Nel Maribojoc and Janice Ingente) /mbmf

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Trial on Senator Trillanes’ inciting to sedition case to proceed

by Marje Pelayo   |   Posted on Thursday, May 9th, 2019

(L-R) Senator Antonio Trillanes IV and President Rodrigo Duterte

MANILA, Philippines – There is no stopping the trial on the inciting to sedition charges against Senator Antonio Trillanes IV.

Pasay City Metropolitan Trial Court Branch 45 on Thursday (May 8) junked Trillanes’ bid to quash the charges against him.

The case stemmed from Trillanes’ privilege speech in the Senate in October 2018 wherein he allegedly called on the military to stage an uprising against President Rodrigo Duterte over his alleged ill-gotten wealth.

The ruling, signed by Judge Remiebel Mondia, dismissed the senator’s petition due to lack of merit saying his arguments are “based on allegations that are purely evidentiary in nature, the truth of which can only be ascertained in a full-blown trial where the parties will be given equal opportunity to present proof that will support their respective claims. – (with details from Mai Bermudez) Marje Pelayo

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