Judge says dis­missal of Tril­lanes coup d’ etat case ‘fi­nal, ex­ecu­tory’

Sun Star Bacolod - - Top Stories -

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

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