“…Your rulers are rebels, partners with thieves; they all love bribes and chase after gift…” –Isaiah 1:23
Nearly eight years ago, I wrote several articles questioning the amnesty then-President Benigno S. Aquino III granted to Senator Antonio Trillanes IV. Given Aquino’s popularity at the time, nobody paid attention to the matter; times have changed and it is time to look back.
On October 13, 2010, I wrote: “Proclamation No. 50, dated October 11, 2010, on the amnesty granted by President Aquino to Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV and other military men accused in the Oakwood Mutiny contained the following significant section: ‘Section 5. Effectivity – This Proclamation shall take effect immediately upon the signing thereof.’… But, under Section 19, Art. VII of the 1987 Constitution, we find the following mandatory provision: ‘Section 19… He shall also have the power to grant amnesty with the concurrence of a majority of all the Members of the Congress’… There is a clear conflict here between what the proclamation provides and what the Constitution stipulates. The rule is that, when there is a conflict between the Constitution and any law or proclamation, the law is invalid and the Constitution must prevail.”
So the amnesty is invalid then?
Amnesty was inappropriate
On October 1, 2010, I wrote: “I am for finding out the truth about the Oakwood Mutiny and the Peninsula Siege but I really do not conform to proposals, coming from our honorable senators, seeking the grant of amnesty to Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV and others involved in the two incidents over which they have been charged with, and are being tried for, rebellion… Amnesty presupposes blotting out the guilt of the recipient with an act of pardon by the President of the Republic. In the cases against Trillanes and company, however, this guilt has not been established, and is in fact the subject of trial, albeit a long and protracted trial already. How could amnesty be given now when, precisely, Trillanes and company are saying they are not guilty of anything?”
On July 22, 2010, I wrote about Trillanes.
“Can President Benigno Aquino III order a review of the rebellion cases of detained Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV? The answer is yes, he can, as the chief executive of government and the commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines… Under the 1987 Constitution, President Aquino as the chief executive enjoys a big grant of power and wide latitude in seeing to it that justice is done, and not simply that a person is accused of a crime, and it is within his perfect legal rights to order a review of any criminal case, even that which may already be pending in the courts. The same thing is true in his role as commander-in-chief… I just do not know why his spokesmen, and even those who are supposed to be in the know in his government as they are lawyers, are failing to explain that the President did not violate any law when he acted in the case of Trillanes… If this kind of inability to defend the President in media persists, it won’t be long before he will look like a villain – not because he really is a villain but because those who wanted him to look like a villain succeeded in doing so, and those whose obligation it is to defend him failed to do so.”
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