Senator Antonio Trillanes IV has been indicted by the Pasay City prosecutor’s office for inciting to sedition following statements he made against President Rodrigo Duterte after the Chief Executive revoked his amnesty.
In a Jan. 29 resolution only released Tuesday, Assistant City Prosecutor Reynaldo Ticyado said the evidence was “sufficient to establish the existence of probable cause” against Trillanes.
The prosecutor, however, dismissed a complaint for proposal to commit coup d’etat against the opposition senator.
The indictment stemmed from Trillanes’ statements against Duterte after the President issued a proclamation revoking the senator’s amnesty in connection with his involvement in the 2003 Oakwood Mutiny and the 2007 Manila Peninsula Siege.
Earlier, the Court of Appeals ordered Trillanes to comment on the petition filed by the government seeking to revive the coup d’etat case against the former Navy lieutenant for his part in the Oakwood mutiny.
The senator is already facing a case for inciting to sedition before a Pasay court over a privilege speech where he allegedly suggested the military shoot Duterte.
In a resolution, the CA’s Seventh Division has required Trillanes to answer the petition of the Department of Justice seeking his arrest and trial, which was previously rejected by a Makati City Regional Trial Court.
The DOJ earlier asked the appellate court to reverse the decision of Makati City RTC Branch 148 last October that dismissed DOJ’s motions for issuance of arrest warrant and hold departure order against the senator.
The CA gave Trillanes 10 days from receipt of notice to comply and submit his answer.
It also directed the DOJ to “submit clearly legible copies of petitioner’s Motion for Partial Reconsideration on the 22 October 2018 and Trillanes’ supplement to the comment and opposition to the very urgent ex-party omnibus motion for issuance of a hold departure order and alias warrant of arrest.”
The DOJ was directed to “serve copies of the petition upon private respondent himself, considering that that present petition is a special civil action under Rule 65, which is an original or independent action and to submit to this Court proof of their compliance hereto.”
“Moreover, the counsel of all the parties in this case are required to promptly notify this Court of the pendency or subsequent filing of other related cases and proceeding, involving the same parties and issues, in this Court, or any other court… within 10 days from notice,” the resolution stated.
Associate Justices Sesinando Villon, Edwin Sorongon and Germano Francisco Legaspi approved the order.
In its petition filed through Solicitor General Jose Calida last Jan. 17, the DOJ asked the CA to annul and set aside the rulings made by Makati RTC branch 148 Judge Andres Soriano for grave abuse of discretion.
Petitioner alleged that the judge erred in “holding that the judgment already attained finality and was, therefore immutable” and also “in admitting and giving credence to the Trillanes’ secondary evidence,” including the photo of his alleged acceptance of the amnesty.
“The respondent judge could not have determined that Trillanes filed his amnesty application and admitted his guilt because the J1-AFP, the DND Records Division, the Office of the Undersecretary for Defense Affairs, and the trial court have no copies of the amnesty application,” the DOJ said.
The DOJ argued that in the absence of the original copy of Trillanes’ amnesty application form, his amnesty cannot be considered valid because “it cannot be conclusively said that [he] expressely admitted that he committed the crimes of rebellion and coup d’etat for his active involvement and participation in Oakwood mutiny and Manila Peninsula Siege.”
“In other words, the reliance of the respondent Judge on the testimonies of the defense witnesses in concluding that Trillanes applied for an amnesty and admitted his guilt for the crimes he was charged with is unwarranted,” it said.
“No evidence was also adduced to show that diligent efforts had been exerted to locate the original copy of the purportedly existing form,” petitioner added.
The DOJ earlier filed the motions before the RTC after President Duterte issued in August last year Proclamation No. 572 which voided the amnesty granted to Trillanes over his participation in the Oakwood mutiny and also in the 2007 Manila Peninsula siege.
The proclamation cited Trillanes’ failure to comply with the requirements for the grant of his amnesty including the filing of his application and the admission of guilt.
Another judge – Judge Elmo Alameda of Makati RTC Branch 150 – granted the motions of the DOJ and ordered the arrest of Trillanes in connection with the rebellion case stemming from the Manila Peninsula siege. The senator has since posted bail in this case, but also appealed the ruling.
Trillanes, a vocal critic of the President, sought relief from the SC and filed a petition challenging the proclamation. But the High Court junked his plea for a temporary restraining order and remanded the factual issues of the cases to the trial courts.