MANILA, Philippines – Albay 1st District Representative Edcel Lagman said President Rodrigo Duterte's revocation of the amnesty granted to Senator Antonio Trillanes IV has "no legal and factual basis."
On Tuesday, September 4, the lawyer turned lawmaker said then-president Benigno Aquino III's Proclamation No. 75, the basis of an amnesty grant to Trillanes and other mutineers in 2011, does not provide for any revocation clause.
"Consequently, the reported revocation by President Rodrigo Duterte of the amnesty granted to Senator Antonio Trillanes has no legal and factual basis," said Lagman.
On August 31, Duterte signed Proclamation No. 572 declaring Trillanes' amnesty "void ab initio." The proclamation was published in the Manila Times on Tuesday.
The soldier turned senator had led Magdalo soldiers in staging the 2003 Oakwood mutiny and 2007 Manila Peninsula siege against the administration of then-president and now Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.
Lagman explained that because Section 19, Article VII of the 1987 Constitution states that the presidential declaration of amnesty needs the concurrence of the majority of all members of both the House and the Senate, revocation, "if allowable, needs the same congressional concurrence."
But Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra disagrees. He said Congress' concurrence is not needed because Trillanes' amnesty was "void ab initio," which means it never had a legal effect from the start.
Section 19, Article VII of the 1987 Constitution states that the President has the "power to grant amnesty with the concurrence of a majority of all the Members of the Congress." But it is silent on the requirement to revoke the amnesty.
"Amnesty, which obliterates past offenses, is final, absolute, and irrevocable unlike a presidential conditional pardon. Alleged present transgressions of a grantee are immaterial and do not militate against the grant of amnesty," said Lagman.
Magdalo Representative Gary Alejano, who had mutineered against the Arroyo presidency with Trillanes, shared the same sentiments. He called Duterte's order against Trillanes a "clear act of revenge."
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