MANILA, Philippines – The Supreme Court (SC) has denied Senator Antonio Trillanes IV’s plea for a preliminary injunction and the issuance of a temporary restraining order (TRO) against Proclamation 572 voiding his amnesty.
With this development, the High Court leaves the decision to the Makati Regional Trial Court whether or not to issue an alias warrant of arrest and a hold departure order against Trillanes.
“Only a trial court and in certain cases, the Court of Appeals are trier of facts. Hence it is appropriate that the Makati RTC should be given leeway in exercising their concurrent jurisdiction,” read Atty. Maria Victoria Gleoresty Guerra, the SC’s acting Chief PIO.
Trillanes’ camp sought to restrain on Friday the implementation of President Rodrigo Duterte’s revocation of his amnesty granted by former President Benigno Aquino III.
The senator insisted that the nullification was unconstitutional because it proceeded without the approval of Congress which, Trillanes’ claimed, was a clear violation of his right to due process.
However, the SC maintained that the issuance of an alias warrant of arrest should be acted upon by the lower court before proceeding to the arrest.
“The court takes judicial notice of the categorical pronouncement of President Duterte that Senator Trillanes will not be apprehended, detained or taken into custody unless a warrant of arrest has been issued by the trial court and thus there is no extreme and urgent necessity for the court to issue an injunctive relief considering that the respondents have acknowledged Senator Trillanes’ right to due process,” the decision further states.
Meanwhile, the Department of Justice (DOJ) was pleased with the decision and the High Court’s recognition of the Makati Regional Trial Court’s jurisdiction as it has set the trial on the case on September 13 and 14.
“More significantly, the Supreme Court has recognized that the issue the of validity of Proclamation 752 involves factual questions that only the trial courts may properly resolve. In the process, the Supreme Court has also acknowledged the trial courts’ continuing jurisdiction over the coup d’ etat and rebellion cases, notwithstanding the alleged ‘finality’ of the orders of dismissal based on the grant of amnesty to Sen. Trillanes,” said Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra.
Trillanes’ camp welcomes the SC decision.
“We are gratified by the ruling of the Supreme Court. We are happy also that the Supreme Court required the respondents to comment on the petition,” explained Atty. Rey Robles, Trillanes’ legal counsel.
The respondents were given 10 days to comment on the petition. – Mai Bermudez / Marje Pelayo