Senate minority seeks probe into Duterte's revocation of Trillanes amnesty

MANILA, Philippines – The Senate minority bloc has sought an investigation into President Rodrigo Duterte’s Proclamation 572, revoking the amnesty granted to opposition senator Antonio Trillanes IV in 2011.

Opposition senators on Tuesday, September 11, filed Senate Resolution 886, directing the appropriate Senate committee to look into the “fraudulent and erroneous” basis of Duterte’s order.

The resolution has yet to be read on the floor and referred to the proper panel.

The senators said there is an “imperative need” to immediately investigate the matter and create remedial laws “to ensure that the administration is not using and/or abusing the awesome powers of the Presidency and its control over the military and the police to instill fear among critics.”

“[These] clearly show that the basis for the issuance of Proclamation No. 572 is not only fraudulent and erroneous, Proclamation No. 572 is apparently being used to silence Senator Trillanes, one of the strongest critic of President Duterte and his administration,” said the resolution signed by Minority Leader Franklin Drilon, and senators Francis Pangilinan, Risa Hontiveros, and Leila de Lima.

“Senator Trillanes is effectively deprived of his liberty and is under constant threat of being arrested when in truth and in fact there is no basis for an arrest,” they added.

Duterte issued Proclamation No. 572 revoking the amnesty granted to Trillanes by then-president Benigno Aquino III in 2011, citing the senator's supposed failure to apply for amnesty and to admit his guilt. Old documents obtained by Rappler, however, show Trillanes did both.

Duterte initially ordered the AFP and the Philippine National Police to arrest Trillanes despite the senator's civilian status since 2007, 4 years before he was granted amnesty. The DND and the Department of Justice (DOJ) had said the military has jurisdiction over Trillanes.

Duterte and the military, however, later changed their tune and said they would wait for the decision of the civilian courts. The DOJ also sought arrest warrants for Trillanes from two Makati courts, but failed to get an immediate decision, as the motions were just set for hearing. (READ: TIMELINE: Gov't gaps, retractions in voiding Trillanes amnesty)

Duterte and Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana had admitted that it was Solicitor General Jose Calida who launched the review of Trillanes’ amnesty.  Duterte said as much on Saturday, saying in a news briefing that Calida did the spadework on the case.

Trillanes has launched a probe into Calida’s questionable multimillion security contracts with the government.

Trillanes remains holed up in his Senate office upon advice of lawyers and friends, saying he could not trust Duterte's words that there will be no warrantless arrest. (LOOK: Inside Trillanes' 'home' in the Senate)

Trillanes failed to secure a temporary restraining order from the Supreme Court. – Rappler.com

Camille Elemia

Camille Elemia is Rappler's lead reporter for media, disinformation, and democracy. She won an ILO award in 2017. She received the prestigious Fulbright-Hubert Humphrey fellowship in 2019, allowing her to further study media and politics in the US. Email camille.elemia@rappler.com

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