DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 08 Sept) – President Rodrigo R. Duterte said he will let the Supreme Court decide whether or not his Proclamation Order no. 572 voiding the amnesty granted to opposition Senator Antonio Trillanes IV in 2010 is valid.
“If the Supreme Court would say that my declaration, proclamation is null and void, then let it fall,” Duterte said in his arrival speech at the Francisco Bangoy International Airport on Saturday.
The President, who visited Israel and Jordan, said he will let the court decide whether Trillanes should be detained again.
He maintained that Trillanes’ amnesty was defective and fatally flawed.
The Proclamation voided the executive clemency granted by then President Benigno Aquino III on the basis that the senator did not comply with the minimum requirements to qualify for the program.
“In the first place, the amnesty allowing his release was void. Therefore, his getting out of custody was also void.Mango tree is mango tree, kalamansi is kalamansi. Nothing valid would come out from a void document,” said the President, who left for Israel on September 2, two days after he signed Proclamation 572.
The Proclamation, however, was made public only on September 3, the same day the Senate Committee on Civil Service and Government Reorganization, was conducting a hearing on the alleged anomalous government contracts won by the security agency of Solicitor-General Jose Calida, Vigilant Investigative and Security Agency Inc.
The security agency has obtained multimillion-peso contracts with several government offices under the Duterte administration. Calida, however, said there is no conflict of interest because he had resigned as president and chair of the agency effective June 30, 2016.
Duterte on Saturday said Calida was the one who researched and found some flaws in the amnesty of Trillanes as he did in the case of ousted Supreme Court Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno who was removed via quo warranto petition.
“Pag sinabi ng SolGen may mali (When SolGen said it is flawed) and this has to be corrected, I cannot refuse. He is the government lawyer, I am not, though I am a mayor or a mayor and a President, I cannot insist lalo na in view of the fact it was already recorded as a public paper,” he added.
Duterte’s proclamation stated that the Senator did not file an official Amnesty Application Form; never expressed his guilt for crimes that were committed for his involvement in 2003 Oakwood Mutiny and 2007 Peninsula Manila Hotel Siege.
“But before you can give a pardon or amnesty, you have to know, you have to declare your guilt and place it in on a narrative so that alam namin, alam ko kung ibibigay ko ba amnesty o papaniwalaan ko (we would know, we would know if I will grant your amnesty or I will believe you),” he added.
He accused former Defense Secreatry Voltaire Gazmin of usurpation of authority for allegedly recommending the amnesty of Trillanes and approving it himself when it’s “a constitutional mandate of the President.”
“Ang problema ‘yung nag-imbestiga at nag-recommend ng amnesty, siya rin ang nag-approve ng amnesty” (The problem is the one who investigated and recommended was also the one who approved the amnesty), he said. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)