Judge says dismissal of Trillanes coup d’ etat case ‘final, executory’
SENATOR Antonio Trillanes IV needs not worry about the coup d’ etat case against him as a Makati court ruled on Monday, October 22, that the dismissal of the case has become “final and executory” and could no longer be changed.
Judge Andres Soriano of the Makati Regional Trial Court Branch 148, in his decision issued on October 22, junked the urgent motion of the Department of Justice for the issuance of an arrest warrant and hold departure order against the senator.
Soriano, who tried and then dismissed the coup d’ etat case against Trillanes, invoked a “well-established” doctrine that a final and executory judgement is immutable.
He said that the coup d etat case against Trilanes has long been dismissed after the latter was granted amnesty through a proclamation issued by former President Benigno Aquino III in 2011.
“The records show that this case has long been dismissed as per the Court’s order dated September 21, 2011, by virtue of proclamation No. 75 and the accused availment thereof. The dismissal, it appears has become final and executory.”
“Well established is the doctrine that a final and executory judgement shall be immutable. The Court, in fact, loses jurisdiction over the case when its decision has become final and executory,” the decision reads.
At the same time, Soriano recognized the prerogative of the executive department to issue Proclamation 572 which declared as void ab initio the amnesty granted to Trillanes during the Benigno Aquino III administration.
The proclamation also directed the courts, Branch 148 included, as well as the Armed Forces of the Philippines Court Martial to revive the charges against Trillanes, a former Navy officer who took part in at least two uprisings against the Gloria Macapagal-arroyo administration.
In his decision, Soriano said that while the proclamation is legal, “the court finds no basis to believe that Proclamation 572 breached any constitutional guaranty or that it has encroached on the constitutional power of either the judicial or the executive branch.”
In junking the DOJ’S motion, Soriano said that the fact that no records of Trillanes’s amnesty application and admission of guilt exist does not mean that Trillanes did not file his application for amnesty.
Proclamation No. 572, issued by President Rodrigo Duterte on August 31, 2018 but made public on September 4, 2018, states that Trillanes’ amnesty is void from the start as he did not file an amnesty application nor did he admit to the coup d’ etat and rebellion charges against him in relation to the Oakwood Mutiny in 2003 and the Manila Peninsula Siege in 2007, respectively.
Soriano noted that the prosecution witness, who certified that the application of Trillanes is unavailable, did not intend to state that Trillanes did not file an amnesty application.
He also noted that the prosecution failed to rebut the evidence submitted by Trillanes consisting of eyewitnesses, testimonies and authenticated pictures of his filing.
“On the basis therefore of the unrebutted evidence, both preponderant and admissible secondary presented by Trillanes, the Court finds and so holds that Trillanes did file his amnesty application in the prescribed form in which he also admitted guilt for his participation in the Oakwood Mutiny, among others, and in which he further recanted all previous statements that he may have made contrary to said admission,” Soriano stated.
Soriano’s decision was issued almost a month after Makati RTC Branch 150 Judge Elmo Alameda issued on September 25 a warrant of arrest against Trillanes in relation to the rebellion charges that were revived by virtue of Proclamation 572.
Trillanes posted P200,000 bail. Authorities said the rebellion case is set to go to trial.
Magdalo Representative Gary Alejano hailed the decision of the Makati RTC.
“Amidst the lies and propaganda under the Duterte Administration, truth and justice have remained in triumph,” Alejano said in a statement.
Alejano said the decision of the Makati RTC is a manifestation that laws should not be bent to cater selfish interests./sunstar Philippines