Trillanes amnesty application could've been 'maliciously concealed'

MANILA, Philippines – An opposition lawmaker said Senator Antonio Trillanes IV's application for amnesty may have been sabotaged so that President Rodrigo Duterte could revoke his amnesty.

Albay 1st District Representative Edcel Lagman said that the Armed Forces of the Philippines' certification that "there is no available copy" of Trillanes' application does not mean he did not apply.

"The 'missing' application could have been maliciously concealed or deliberately destroyed," said Lagman on Wednesday, September 5, a day after Duterte's Proclamation No. 572 voiding Trillanes' amnesty was published in the Manila Times.

The lawyer turned lawmaker said Trillanes would not have been granted amnesty by then-President Benigno Aquino III in 2010 if the opposition senator did not apply for it in the first place. (READ: Noynoy Aquino says Duterte should 'respect, recognize' Trillanes amnesty)

"Moreover, there are other concrete evidence documenting Trillanes' application for amnesty, like relevant photographs and video coverage," said Lagman.

Trillanes had led the 2003 Oakwood mutiny and the 2007 Manila Peninsula siege against the administration of then-president and now Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

Duterte's premise for the amnesy revocation was that Trillanes allegedly never applied for it and never admitted to his guilt. The opposition senator, however, already showed pictures and video to debunk the President's claim.

Department of National Defense (DND) spokesperson Arsenio Andolong also said they are still looking for Trillanes' amnesty application.

According to Lagman, a warrant of arrest for Trillanes should not be issued either, because the latter's criminal cases before the regular courts and military tribunals stemming from his coup attempts were already dismissed when he received his amnesty.

The lawmaker said that even the Supreme Court (SC) case Magdalo vs Comelec, dated June 19, 2012, sustained and validated the amnesty granted to Trillanes and other Magdalo soldiers.

"In view of the subsequent amnesty granted in favor of members of Magdalo, the events that transpired during the Oakwood incident could no longer be interpreted as acts of violence in the context of the disqualification from party registration," Lagman quoted the SC as saying.

Lagman then reiterated that Trillanes' amnesty is "final, absolute, and irrevocable."

Trillanes has so far stayed at the Senate where he, his allies, and lawyers continue to discuss the legal remedies they can take to oppose Duterte's order. – Rappler.com

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Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda writes about politics and women’s rights for Rappler. She covers the House of Representatives and the Office of the Vice President. Got tips? Send her an email at mara.cepeda@rappler.com or shoot her a tweet @maracepeda.

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