Supreme Court denies Trillanes request for TRO

Lian Buan
Supreme Court denies Trillanes request for TRO


(5th UPDATE) Attention shifts to the two Makati courts which will hear the motion to issue a warrant of arrest

MANILA, Philippines (5th UPDATE) – The Supreme Court (SC) en banc on Tuesday, September 11, denied the request of Senator Antonio Trillanes IV for a temporary restraining order (TRO) to block his arrest.

The en banc also asked the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) to comment in 10 days on Trillanes’ main petition for further deliberations.

With this, the attention now shifts again to the two Makati courts which will hear this week the DOJ’s motions for a warrant of arrest against Trillanes in previously dismissed cases of coup d’etat and rebellion.

“It is appropriate that the Makati Regional Trial Courts (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,” SC’s Acting Information Chief Maria Victoria Gleoresty Guerra said in a news conference on Tuesday.

The denial of the petition is primarily based on President Rodrigo Duterte’s acknowledgment that no arrest will be made without warrant issued by the trial courts. Trillanes “will not be apprehended, detained or taken into custody” without the warrrants from the regional trial courts.

Given this, according to the High Court’s resolution,”there is no extreme and urgent necessity for the Court to issue an injunctive relief considering that the respondents have acknowledged Senator Trillanes’ right to due process,” said Guerra. 

Trillanes’ lawyer Rey Robles said that they will now discuss the option of the senator finally going home.

“Kapag Korte Suprema na ang nagsalita at labagin pa rin yun ng AFP at Palasyo, lumalabas na wala nang respeto sa institutusyon sa bayan natin,” said Robles in a quick press conference at the Senate Tuesday afternoon.

(If the Supreme Court speaks and it’s still defied by the AFP and the Palace, there really is no respect for institutions in this country anymore.)

It was not announced how the justices voted – Guerra only disclosed, when asked, that “a majority” voted for the denial of motion for TRO and writ for preliminary injunction.

Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio, on wellness leave, was not present in the en banc session. Neither were Associate Justices Marvic Leonen, Noel Tijam, and Alexander Gesmundo, who are also all on leave.

Associate Justice Diosdado Peralta is member-in-charge.

In Malacañang, Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque said: “Finally the Supreme Court has spoken…. The Supreme Court denied the applicaton for TRO, there is no legal impediment now to implement Proclamation 572. He had his day in court and he failed.”

Roque quickly clarified: “There is no legal impediment but the President has previously decided he will await action of the Regional Trial Court. But I do not want to preempt the President on whatever decision he might have now.”

Trillanes filed on September 6 his petition for certiorari with a request for a TRO, asking to nullify President Rodrigo Duterte’s Proclamation No. 572 that voided his amnesty on the basis of an allegedly non-existent application form. Trillanes has insisted the application form exists and that he had admitted his guilt, as required.

A petition such as Trillanes’ wouldn’t have gotten an immediate decision from the Supreme Court, but at the very least the senator would have wanted a TRO given his situation. He has been staying inside the Senate premises to avoid a warrantless arrest.

Tuesday, September 11, is Trillanes’ 8th day holed up in his office. A TRO would have also halted the proceedings at the Makati courts.

Duterte, the Department of Justice (DOJ), and the Department of National Defense (DND) initially issued pronouncements about a warrantless military arrest against Trillanes, arguing that the resigned soldier still falls within the jurisdiction of the military and as such, he could be court martialed.

Duterte later blinked and said he would defer to the courts on the matter, with the rest of his men following suit.

Trillanes, however, said he doesn’t believe that Duterte has withdrawn his orders for the military and police to arrest him without a warrant. This is why he was hoping for a TRO from the Supreme Court.

With the TRO denied, Trillanes would have to wait a little longer, as the senator said he wouldn’t leave the Senate premises anytime soon so that he wouldn’t “fall into Duterte’s trap.”

Senators cannot be arrested inside the Senate premises. –

Follow the developments here: 


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Lian Buan

Lian Buan covers justice and corruption for Rappler. She is interested in decisions, pleadings, audits, contracts, and other documents that establish a trail. If you have leads, email or tweet @lianbuan.