Trillanes appeals Makati court's arrest warrant, hold departure order

MANILA, Philippines – Opposition Senator Antonio Trillanes IV filed an omnibus motion for reconsideration, after Makati Regional Trial Court Branch 150 issued an arrest warrant and a hold departure order (HDO) against the lawmaker.

In his appeal submitted October 1, Trillanes argued that Branch 150 should "vacate and/or set aside" the September 25 order granting the Department of Justice's plea for the issuance of an arrest warrant and HDO for lack of legal and factual basis.

"The accused…most respectfully moves and prays of this Honarable Court to [u]ltimately deny the prosecution's very urgent ex parte omnibus motion for lack of jurisdiction and/or of merit, pursuant to prevailing laws and/or jurisprudence," the appeal said.

"[T]he instant case having been already dismissed through the Honorable Court's order dated September 7, 2011, which dismissal and/or termination of the case had already become final and executory nearly 7 years ago," it added.

On September 25, Branch 150 Presiding Judge Elmo Alameda granted the DOJ's request, as he found that Trillanes "had failed to substantiate his claim" that he had filed for amnesty. The senator was unable to produce original documents and the defense department said it could not find his application in its records.

The decision came despite the sworn affidavit of a Department of National Defense officer certifying that an application was indeed filed. (READ: Court handling rebellion case asks Trillanes for actual amnesty form)

Alameda will be hearing Trillanes' appeal on Friday, October 12 at 9 am.

'Misapplied' best evidence rule: In the appeal, Trillanes' camp said that the court should set the case for hearing "for the proper reception of evidence," concerning the factual issues referred by the Supreme Court:

They argued that "best evidence rule," as cited by Branch 150, is only applicable to cases wherein the contents of a document are being contested, and thus not applicable to his case.

The best evidence rule indicates that original documents must be produced when the subject of inquiry is the content of a document, therefore making other evidence inadmissible. (READ: TIMELINE: Gov't gaps, retractions in voiding Trillanes amnesty)

"Since what is involved here are factual matters and not what the application for amnesty purportedly contains, it is very clear that the best evidence rule does not apply to the case," the appeal said.

"Clearly, this Honorable Court committed grave and gross but correctible error of refusing to consider these competent evidence properly presented by former accused Trillanes in this regard," it added.

Branch 150 'grossly erred' in upholding Proclamation 572 : Trillanes' camp also said that declaring his amnesty "void ab initio" through President Rodrigo Duterte's Proclamation No. 572 is "fundamentally flawed and indefensible."

"Even assuming for the sake of argument that the President is correct…his act of so declaring so himself through Proclamation No. 572, series of 2018, clearly constitutes an overreach on his part and the same is clearly illegal and/or constitutional because it clearly constitutes usurpation of judicial power," Trillanes argued.

The lawmakers' camp said that the proclamation "undermines the entire legal system" by granting a review to final and executory decisions of courts. (READ: [ANALYSIS] Philippine courts dribble, stall on Trillanes amnesty issue)

"To put it simply, the assailed ruling of the Honorable Court is tantamount to a total and complete surrender of the independence of the judiciary and a tragic capitulation to the President of the judicial power lodged upon the courts by the Constitution," Trillanes said.

With this, the senator argued that Branch 150 should vacate and set aside the September 25 ruling to pave the way for proper hearings of the case. – Rappler.com

Aika Rey

Aika Rey covers the Philippine Senate for Rappler. Before writing about politicians, she covered budget, labor, and transportation issues.

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