Duterte admin to bring Trillanes’ case to the Court of Appeals
by Marje Pelayo | Posted on Tuesday, October 23rd, 2018
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)
by Marje Pelayo | Posted on Friday, July 12th, 2019
MANILA, Philippines – July 12, 2019, marks the third anniversary of the Philippine’s arbitral win against China’s historical claims on the South China Sea, part of which is the West Philippine Sea.
The Permanent Court of Arbitration’s landmark ruling thus invalidated China’s so-called ‘Nine-Dash Line’ – the undefined demarcation line that encircles as much as 90 percent of the disputed waters in the area.
The Duterte administration downplayed the victory in hopes of building stronger ties with China and preferred to offer diplomacy rather than further escalating the tension by sending military troops to the disputed waters, even amid reports of harassment against Filipino fishermen and the Chinese destroying and exploiting the Philippines’ marine resources.
Maritime expert Jay Batongbacal expressed deep concern on the continuous deterioration and massive destruction of the marine environment in the West Philippine Sea.
“This has to stop and we have to get serious,” the Director of the University of the Philippines Institute of Maritime Affairs and Law of the Sea appealed.
“And we’re not talking about going to war. We’re talking about simple things like stopping the destruction of a common pool resource that would benefit us all,” he added.
Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio, meanwhile, acknowledge that war is not an option in the West Philippine Sea row as the Constitution forbids.
But Carpio blamed the Duterte administration’s inaction, accusing it of using such provision of the law to instill fear among Filipinos as if the Philippines has no other option but to obey with what China offers.
“This administration has done nothing whatsoever to enforce the arbitral award,” Carpio said.
“I don’t see positive in the enforcement of the award,” he added.
The magistrate appealed to President Duterte not to formalize his verbal agreement with China’s Xi Jinping in his upcoming state of the nation address (SONA) that allows Chinese fishermen to fish within the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) of the country in the WPS.
Carpio said, once Duterte formalizes the agreement, the Philippines would be bound and that would weaken the Arbitral ruling.
“If the President will confirm it in his SONA, I mean, we cannot get out of that anymore. So, we’re bound by that, we have to honor that. So, that means China can fish in an area 59 times larger than Scarborough Shoal,” Carpio argued.
Malacañang stressed that the President considers his agreement with Xi as legally binding, but Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. insisted that it cannot be executed because there is no written document to attest the deal.
For her part, former Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales said the issue will still depend on how the President delivers the matter during his SONA.
She calls on Filipinos to stand for the country’s rights no matter what happens.
“Let us not be scared by all the propaganda that we hear. Because if we do, walang mangyayari (nothing will happen),” Morales said.
“Be brave,” she concluded. – with details from Harlene Delgado
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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