Too weak a Trillanes’ defense


Not surprisingly, the lawyers of Sen. Antonio Trillanes failed to produce their client’s application for amnesty which was asked by Judge Elmo Alameda of the Makati Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 150. Action was then deferred by Alameda, despite being aware of the fact that Trillanes will still fail to produce that all-important document to ensure his victory over President Duterte’s proclamation voiding the senator’s amnesty grant.

What Trillanes’ lawyers asked instead was for the court to allow them to present secondary evidence, which to the camp of Trillanes, consists of a video footage of Trillanes in a media interview claiming that he had applied for amnesty while holding a piece of paper supposedly representing his application.

“It really must be asked why Trillanes cannot produce his claimed filed and certified application.

It should then be asked. If that was his copy, why then has he failed to produce it now?
As Judge Alameda himself asked for the Trillanes application for amnesty with the Department of National Defense, his lawyer, Reynaldo Robles, could not produce it and instead asked the court’s permission to present secondary evidence such as a video recording of the filing of amnesty, news clippings as well as certificates and affidavits attesting to the validity of Trillanes’ amnesty.

If such a video footage and news clippings are to be accepted by the court as evidence, then Judge Alameda would be going against an earlier Supreme Court ruling that clearly finds as unacceptable evidence news clippings, and presumably, video footage, which is what to print media is a news clipping.

Such was a ruling by the High Court after it realized the blunder it committed when it took as evidence an unauthenticated diary in news clipping form, of the alleged final hours of then sitting President Joseph Estrada who at that time, was facing a revolt from the elite, the yellows and the communists and, of course, the meddling political Catholic bishops.
It was this news clipping of the unauthenticated diary that the Davide High Court used to claim that given the alleged mental and emotional state of Estrada at the time, that the court invented the unconstitutional “Constructive Resignation.”

Truth is, the Trillanes’ video footage, which was already shown by him in a Senate presentation during his privilege speech, is hardly proof, considering the fact that he was not under oath when he spoke to the media while waving a piece of paper that
he claimed was his application. There was no affidavit from him shown to the media attesting to having committed the crime of coup d’etat twice.

Will Trillanes and his lawyers also present witnesses to prove that he had applied for amnesty and admitted his guilt? If so, chances are high that his camp would tap as witness, Rep. Gary Alejano, who is as much a prevaricator as Trillanes, both of whom rely on propaganda and drama to puff up themselves.

It really must be asked why Trillanes cannot produce his claimed filed and certified application together with his affidavit admitting his guilt referring to his crimes committed, if his papers were truly in order and that his amnesty is not flawed. There would then be no reason for Duterte to void Trillanes’ amnesty.

There are more than enough amnesty grantees who can confirm, under oath and in court, that notarized affidavits were required before one could avail himself of the amnesty.

Former rebel chief Nicanor Faeldon, who availed himself of the amnesty during the yellow President’s time, appears ready to testify that the amnesty grant required the applicant to submit a notarized affidavit which contradicts Trillanes’ claim that all that is needed is for one to check the box for the admission of guilt.

Is an amnesty grant so trivial that the Aquino government merely seeks a checked box for the rebels’ amnesty?

“The Trillanes’ video footage, which was already shown by him in a Senate presentation during his privilege speech, is hardly proof.
As the judge stated, the application, which the Trillanes camp fails to produce, is essential to the case.

“The court needs the application from the amnesty commission,” Alameda was quoted as saying.

Robles proposed instead that members of the commission be summoned as witnesses to Trillanes’ application.

Robles also presented the certificate of amnesty signed by former Defense Chief Voltaire Gazmin. But, precisely, this is also in question, as the power to grant amnesties belongs to the President of the Republic, not to the defense chief since that power cannot be delegated.

The Trillanes camp wants the Duterte government to be held accountable for “infidelity in the custody of public documents” for failing to secure the senator’s’ application for amnesty.

It really should be Noynoy Aquino and his defense people who should be held accountable for “infidelity in the custody of documents.”

They may well have come up with the flawed document which could have been filched by them after the proclamation voiding Trillanes’ amnesty was announced.

Trillanes shouldn’t complain too much. He can always be a companion to the jailed Leila de Lima. They deserve each other.