Duterte’s proclamation invalidating Trillanes’ amnesty ‘very dangerous’ — Sereno

Published September 12, 2018, 6:19 PM

by Roel Tibay

By Vanne Elaine Terrazola

The presidential proclamation invalidating the amnesty granted to Senator Antonio Trillanes IV would jeopardize the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and those previously granted amnesties by the government, former Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno warned.

Facing reporters after visiting Trillanes Wednesday, Sereno said President Duterte put at risk the AFP for not consulting their ranks in issuing the Proclamation No. 572 and voiding the amnesty of his staunch critic.

Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno gestures during a round table discussion with campus journalist of the different University in Manila,April 26,2018. (Czar Dancel / MANILA BULLETIN)
Maria Lourdes Sereno

She said the security officials may have been “surprised” by the President’s recent move, a reason for their supposed confusion amid the issuance of the order.

“The AFP…needed time to recalibrate its position and understand what is happening. True enough, in the following days, fingers were being pointed at different officials as to who originated the idea. There was really confusion. So they had to take time to breathe and assess the situation,” Sereno observed.

“I think that they have come to the realization now that what President Duterte did, by not consulting even the military, is very dangerous. Kumbaga, pinahamak ni President Duterte ang AFP (In other words, President Duterte jeopardized the AFP),” she added.

Sereno said the proclamation also initiated the possibility that all amnesties granted to rebelling soldiers and those who previously violated laws may be voided also by succeeding administrations.

“Ibig sabihin, ‘yong amnestiya na nakuha mismo ni [AFP Chief of Staff] General Carlito Galvez ‘pag nagbago na ang administrasyon ay pwede na pong buksan. Gayon din po ang amnestiya na bingya kay Sen. Gringo Honasan, at marami pa,” she raised.

Sereno said the implications of the proclamation were “alarming.” She said that it may “divide” the AFP due to fears that government amnesty may be revoked.

Meanwhile, Sereno said she believes that the AFP is going through an “internal processing” on how to respond to the proclamation.

But she expressed hope that the AFP will stay true to its mandate in the Constitution and service to the Filipino.

“I don’t think that the AFP will turn its back on the people. I do not think that the AFP will allow itself to be used by political self-interest. The AFP knows that it is not the tool of politicians. The AFP, I believe, will look beyond the term of any president, look into the long-term welfare, not just of the individual soldier on the field but of every Filipino,” she said.