MANILA, Philippines – Senator Antonio Trillanes IV has tapped legal experts to join his team of counsels as they prepare for battle both in the lower courts and the Supreme Court.
Trillanes announced on Thursday, September 13, that his lead counsel Rey Robles will be joined by 3 law professors considered experts in their fields.
Former University of the Philippines (UP) Law Dean Pacifico Agabin and former solicitor General Florin Hilbay will join the team. Both taught or are teaching Constitutional Law.
Agabin also chairs the Constitutional Law Department of the Philippine Judicial Academy or PHILJA.
Rey Robles will remain lead counsel and he will be joined by law professor Joselito Chan, who is Robles’ partner at his firm, Chan Robles and Associates.
“I have talked to some of the best legal minds in the country who are willing to stand for the rule of law. They believe that if this illegal act would not be corrected, our country’s democracy would be in peril,” Trillanes said.
Trillanes’ lawyers will battle it out at two branches at the Makati Regional Trial Court (RTC) and eventually, the Supreme Court (SC).
In the meantime, the SC has referred the cases to Branches 148 and 150 of the Makati RTC which will hear the Department of Justice or DOJ’s motions to issue an arrest warrant against Trillanes.
Branches 148 and 150 handled the coup d’etat and rebellion charges against Trillanes respectively, but both charges were dismissed in September 2011 due to the amnesty given to the senator.
Trillanes argues that the Makati RTC no longer has jurisdiction to try cases that have long been dismissed. (READ: EXPLAINER: What the Supreme Court TRO denial means for Trillanes)
The senator had filed a petition asking the SC to nullify President Rodrigo Duterte’s Proclamation No. 527 for allegedly being unconstitutional.
The SC has asked the executive branch to reply to Trillanes’ petition for further deliberations.
But the High Court denied Trillanes’ request for a temporary restraining order (TRO) taking in good faith Duterte’s pronouncement that the senator will not be arrested without a warrant.
“I put my trust in our courts that they will correct this executive overreach and adhere to the rule of law despite Duterte’s twisting of laws just to achieve his aim of silencing his critics,” Trillanes said. – Rappler.com