By Jeffrey Damicog
Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra on Tuesday expressed elation with the Supreme Court (SC) decision which turned down the preliminary injunction and temporary restraining order (TRO) sought by Senator Antonio Trillanes IV against the presidential proclamation that voided the lawmaker’s amnesty.
“The DOJ (Department of Justice) is very happy to know that the Supreme Court has denied Sen. Trillanes’ application for a restraining order,” the secretary said in a statement.
Trillanes filed the petition against President Rodrigo Duterte’s Proclamation No. 572 which declared as “void ab initio” or void from the start the amnesty given in 2010 by then President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III.
Aquino gave the amnesty to Trillanes and his cohorts under Proclamation No. 75 over their involvement in the 2003 Oakwood mutiny and the 2007 Manila Peninsula siege.
The DOJ has already sought before the Makati City Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branches 148 and 150 for the issuance of arrest warrants and hold departure orders (HDO) against Trillanes. Branch 148 is handling the coup d’etat case concerning the Oakwood mutiny while Branch 150 has the rebellion case regarding the Manila Peninsula siege.
The SC declared that “it is appropriate that the Makati RTCs should be given leeway in exercising their concurrent jurisdiction to hear and resolve the pleadings/motions filed by the parties as regards the legality of Proclamation No. 572, Series of 2018.”
The high tribunal added there was no urgency in giving Trillanes injunctive relief since the administration recognized his right to due process and Duterte has announced “that Senator Trillanes will not be apprehended, detained or taken into custody unless a warrant of arrest has been issued by the trial court.”
On the other hand, the SC gave Trillanes the opportunity to file a comment over its ruling.
Guevarra agreed with the SC that “there is really no extreme urgency to speak of, as the trial courts have set the DOJ’s motions for alias warrant of arrest and HDO for hearing, thereby giving Sen. Trillanes an opportunity to be heard.”
“More significantly, the Supreme Court has recognized that the issue of validity of proclamation 572 involves factual questions that only the trial courts may properly resolve,” he stated.
“In the process, the Supreme Court has also acknowledged the trial courts’ continuing jurisdiction over the coup d’etat and rebellion cases, notwithstanding the alleged ‘finality’ of the orders of dismissal based on the grant of amnesty to Sen. Trillanes,” he added.
Trillanes had insisted that the cases can no longer be revived since the RTCs have dismissed them due to the amnesty granted to him and a number of his co-accused.