DOJ: Trillanes amnesty void from the beginning

Marje Pelayo   •   September 4, 2018   •   7449

(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)

Trillanes refutes Sabio’s allegations against him

Aileen Cerrudo   •   September 9, 2019

Former Senator Antonio Trillanes IV

Former Senator Antonio Trillanes IV has refuted Atty. Jude Sabio’s claims against him which include the allegation that the former senator is behind the “Ang Totoong Narco List” videos.

Sabio is Trillanes’ former lawyer. He is also the lawyer of self-confessed Davao Death Squad hitman Edgar Matobato.

In an open letter, Trillanes said Sabio had no personal knowledge about him being involved with Peter “Bikoy” Advincula.

“Hinala mo lang na malalim ito kasi sabi mo, kinukuha kita bilang abogado niya [Bikoy] (These are just speculations on your part because you said I was recruiting you to become Bikoy’s lawyer),” he wrote in his letter.

“Sa interview mo mismo ay sinabi mo na ang sabi ko sayo ay may ‘ibang handlers’ si Bikoy na nagpapahanap lang sila ng abogado niya. Hindi ba maliwanag iyon na I’m not directly involved with him? (In your interview you said that I told you Bikoy has ‘other handlers’ and that they are just looking for a lawyer for Bikoy. Isn’t that clear enough that I’m not directly involved with him?)” he added.

Sabio also claimed that Trillanes owed him P700,000 in lawyer’s fees. Trillanes responded he was not the one who requested for a billing.

“Maliwanag mismo sa interview mo na hindi ako ang nagpagawa sa’yo ng billing na iyan at hindi rin ako ang kliyente mo. Si Edgar Matobato ang kliyente mo at maliwanag sa ating lahat na pro bono ang engagement niyo, (It is clear during your interview that I did not request for that billing and I was not your client. Edgar Matobato was your client and it is clear to everyone that your engagement is pro bono) he wrote.

In 2017, Sabio filed a case against President Rodrigo Duterte and other high-ranking government officials before the International Criminal Court (ICC) for allegedly committing crimes against humanity in the Duterte administration’s war on drugs.—AAC

De Lima supporters launch committee for her freedom

Maris Federez   •   August 26, 2019

Supporters of Senator Leila de Lima on Monday launched the Committee for the Freedom of Leila De Lima.

This aims to intensify the public’s awareness on the senator’s condition as a prisoner of conscience.

The lawmaker has been in detention for more than two years for illegal drug-related cases.

“One important characteristic of this committee in what’s happening is were making this a non-partisan issue, of the freedom of Sen. Leila. Any ability to participate as a senator should not be about politics,” Prof. Tony La Viña, one of the conveners, said.

The group is supported by former President Benigno Aquino III who had once been a senator himself, as well as, six former members of the Senate, like senators Antonio Trillanes IV and Rene Saguisag.

The group is appealing for De Lima to be allowed to vote on proposed bills and resolutions, attend Senate sessions and public hearings from her cell at Camp Crame in Quezon City by way of teleconferencing.

The said measure was first proposed by then-Senator Nene Pimentel during President Gloria Magapagal’s term when Senator Trillanes was in detention.

It was not, however, approved by some senators during that time.

“Kaya noong nanalo na si President Aquino nagbago ang ihip ng hangin. Suddenly gumugulong ano, pinayagan. Pero sinesetup pa lang siya noong eventually pinayagan akong makalaya at mabigyan ng amnesty. So hindi na natuloy iyong mga ganoong paraan [So when President Aquino won the elections, the situation had changed. Suddenly it was approved. But they were still setting it up when I was eventually freed and given amnesty. So it did not push through],” Trillanes said.

The former lawmakers have also expressed support for Senate Resolution 51 filed by Senators Panfilo Lacson and Franklin Drilon that seeks to allow De Lima to attend sessions thru teleconferencing.

They said there are important issues that need the opinion of the minority in which De Lima belongs.

The lady senator is facing a case of conspiracy to commit illegal drug trading inside the New Bilibid Prisons while she was still the secretary of the Department of Justice. (from the report of Mai Bermudez) /mbmf

DOJ: Maguindanao massacre verdict out by November

Marje Pelayo   •   August 9, 2019

FILE PHOTO: Journalism students of Bulacan State University light candles in commemoration of the 4th anniversary of the Maguindanao Massacre in front of Bulacan Capitol, Malolos City, Bulacan. Photo taken November 21, 2013. | PVI/Junnel Aquino

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Justice (DOJ) expects judgement to be rendered on the accused in the killing of 58 individuals in the gruesome massacre that happened in Maguindanao in November 2009.

According to Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra, the 10-year trial on the case was finally completed on July 17, 2019.

“The parties were given until 15 August 2019 to submit simultaneously their respective memorandum or written summation,” Guevarra said in a statement.

“After which the case shall be considered as submitted for decision, with or without the memoranda of the parties,” he added.

The DOJ then expects that a judgment will be rendered before the massacre’s 10th anniversary November 23, 2019.

“And that justice will finally be served,” the Justice Secretary said.

The judgement in November is expected to end the long wait for justice for the families of the victims of the gruesome crime.

Fifty people were killed in Sitio Masalay, Barangay Salman, Ampatuan, Maguindanao, including 32 journalists, four of them from UNTV. 

Some brutally shot, others buried alive in pits, while several bodies were left lying nearby in the massacre known as the single deadliest event for journalists in history. – MNP (with details from Mai Bermudez)


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