Duterte admin to bring Trillanes’ case to the Court of Appeals
Marje Pelayo • October 23, 2018 • 2793
FILE PHOTO: Sen. Antonio Trillanes
MANILA, Philippines – The Duterte Administration has decided to bring the case of Senator Antonio Trillanes IV to the next level.
Instead of filing a motion for reconsideration on the recent ruling of Makati Regional Trial Court Branch 148, the Office of the Solicitor General acting as the government’s chief legal counsel, is preparing a petition which it intends to submit to the Court of Appeals.
Makati RTC Branch 148 Judge Andres Soriano on Monday (October 22) denied the request of the Department of Justice (DOJ) seeking for the arrest of Trillanes over charges of coup d’etat for his participation in the 2003 Oakwood Mutiny.
The same court dismissed the case in 2011 when former President Benigno Aquino III granted the senator an amnesty.
Presidential Spokesperson and Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo said the SolGen’s petition to the CA will focus on the denied motion for arrest and the local court’s alleged upholding of secondary evidence as well as if whether or not Senator Trillanes submitted appropriate application for amnesty.
“I’ve talked with SOLGEN and he said he will not file motion for reconsideration but go immediately to the Court of Appeals and appeal the ruling of the court with respect to the non-issuance of the warrant of arrest,” Panelo said.
The administration previously expressed its respect to the decision of the lower court. However, Panelo said, the Palace has identified flaws in the ruling of the Makati RTC Branch 148.
If necessary, Panelo added, the government is determined to elevate the case further to the Supreme Court (SC).
What is important to Malacañang and to President Rodrigo Duterte, for now, is that the court upheld Proclamation 572 which acknowledges the President’s power to declare null and void an amnesty declaration granted to an individual.
“There are procedural matters decided by the court which to my mind are erroneous. How it accepted evidence despite the fact that they are all secondary evidence. So there are questions na can be properly raised in the Court of Appeals and subsequently the Supreme Court,” Panelo concluded. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Rosalie Coz)
MANILA, Philippines – United States Senator Richard Durbin renewed his call for the Duterte administration to release detained opposition Senator Leila de Lima, saying this is an “easy and honorable way forward.”
In a speech on the Senate floor Wednesday, Durbin urged the Philippine government to give De Lima a quick and credible trial instead of threatening the travel of Americans with visa requirements.
“The Duterte regime should stop threatening the travel of Americans and so many others who travel between our nations, and instead ensure a quick and credible trial for Senator de Lima or simply do the right thing and release her,” he said.
Duterte’s spokesman Salvador Panelo earlier said the Philippine government would require all Americans to secure a visa before entering the country should the US government enforce the ban on Filipino officials said to be involved in De Lima’s detention.
The Philippine government also ordered the Bureau of Immigration to deny entry to Durbin and Senator Patrick Leahy.
It was Leahy and Durbin who pushed for the inclusion of a provision in the US 2020 budget banning the entry of Philippine officials linked to the detention of the Filipino senator.
Another American senator, Edward Markey, has also been banned from entering the Philippines for filing a resolution calling for De Lima’s release.
De Lima, one of Duterte administration’s fierce critics, has been detained since 2017 over her alleged involvement in the illegal drug trade while she was Justice Secretary. She has repeatedly denied the charges.
Panelo reiterated that De Lima’s detention was not a case of political persecution, insisting that the senator was afforded due process and that there is a “probable cause” to issue a warrant for her arrest. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)
MANILA, Philippines – Members of the Ampatuan clan who were found guilty of planning and executing the gruesome 2009 massacre in Maguindanao are heading to the Court of Appeals (CA) to contest their convictions.
In a notice served to the Quezon City Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 221 on Thursday, Brothers Andal Ampatuan, Jr. and Zaldy Ampatuan said they will take the case to the appellate court, and asked the lower court to forward all of the case records to the CA for review and proceedings.
Their relatives Datu Anwar Ampatuan, Sr. and his sons Datu Anwar Jr and Anwar Sajid have filed separate motions for reconsiderations before the Quezon City court, urging Judge Solis-Reyes to review the decision due to the alleged loopholes in the testimony of some witnesses.
On December 19, Judge Solis-Reyes handed down a guilty verdict to some members of the political Ampatuan clan for their involvement in the murder of 57 people, including members of the media.
Originally, there were 58 victims in the massacre but the 58th person, photographer Reynaldo Momay of the local paper Midland Review, was declared missing after his body was not found in the scene.
The ambush happened when 32 members of the media were on their way to a local Commission on Elections office to cover the filing of then gubernatorial bet Esmael Mangudadatu – a political rival of the Ampatuans.
Six of the victims were not part of the Mangudadatu supporters and the media convoy.
The Ampatuan massacre is considered as the worst election-related violence and attack on press freedom in the Philippines.
Meanwhile, in a separate motion, Zaldy Ampatuan asked the QC court to allow his transfer to the infirmary of the New Bilibid Prison “to receive therapy, rehabilitation and medication prescribed by his doctors, and so as not to unduly put his health in jeopardy.
His lawyers said the former Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao government have suffered three strokes in two months, and has hypertension, diabetes and chronic atrial fibrillation.
Zaldy Ampatuan had been confined to a hospital in Makati from October to December. He was ordered by the court to return to his detention facility a day before the Ampatuan case promulgation.
Mangudadatu, on the other hand, said he is not surprised by the legal moves that the Ampatuans are employing following the promulgation.
“Expected namin yan pero kung magkaroon man ng final conviction kumbaga dapat sa panahon na yan may bitay na para hindi na tularan itong ganitong klaseng gawain,” he said.
He also expressed confidence that evidence against the Ampatuans are airtight and that the appellate court will not grant their appeals. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Dante Amento)
MANILA, Philippines – The Duterte administration is confident that more Filipinos will be able to recover from poverty before the end of President Rodrigo Duterte’s term.
This, despite the recent report from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) on the slowdown of poverty incidence in the country in 2018.
Based on the report, almost 6 million Filipinos already have improved their living from 2015 to 2018.
This translates to a 6.7% drop in poverty incidence in the country from 23.3% in 2015 to 16.6% in 2018.
Poverty incidence is the proportion of the poorest population which receives income lower than what they need to support their basic needs such as food, healthcare, and education among others.
According to the government’s estimate, a family of five members should at least earn P10,700 a month to support their food and non-food requirements.
Socioeconomic planning secretary Ernesto Pernia expressed confidence that before 2022, poverty incidence in the country will further decrease.
“If you let poverty incidence, which is by 16.6% now, drop by 2.23 percent a year, then we will hit I think something like 11 or even less than that,” Pernia said.
The administration believes that job generation and policy reforms such as institutionalizing the conditional cash transfer, unconditional cash transfer, and an intensified family planning program, helped reduced poverty incidence in the country. — MNP (with details from Rosalie Coz)
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