Only SC can decide on military trial for Trillanes – Lacson
MANILA, Philippines – Senator Panfilo Lacson said on Wednesday, September 26, that only the Supreme Court can decide whether Senator Antonio Trillanes IV should face a military court even as a civilian.
"How could a sitting senator who has resigned in the Armed Forces of the Philippines be considered a member of the AFP and face the court martial proceedings? Medyo magulo (It's quite confusing)," Lacson told reporters on Wednesday, September 26.
"And it's only the Supreme Court eventually or finally can interpret kung tama o mali (if it's right or wrong)," he added.
Trillanes had asked the High Tribunal to declare as unconstitutional an order issued by President Rodrigo Duterte revoking his amnesty.
With Duterte's Proclamation No. 572, discussions on reviving charges against Trillanes in the military court resurfaced, as these were suspended because of the amnesty granted to him and fellow ex-mutineers in 2011.
Trillanes is out on bail after Makati Regional Trial Court Branch 150 ordered his arrest on Tuesday, September 25.
Another Makati court, Branch 148, is handling a justice department's plea to revive coup charges against Trillanes for his participation in the failed Oakwood mutiny in 2003 against the Arroyo administration. The charges are non-bailable. (READ: Trillanes faces tough challenge at 2nd court)
Should Branch 148 order him arrested, the question would be whether or not the military can acquire jurisdiction over him. Duterte's proclamation explicity ordered law authorities to "revert" Trillanes to the detention facility where he had been detained previously, and that's inside a military camp. (READ: From posh hotels to the Senate: The 3 times Trillanes was arrested)
“We will cross the bridge when we get there,” said Trillanes’ lawyer Rey Robles.
Trillanes said he is ready for an unfavorable decision from the second court.
Prior to his 2011 amnesty, Trillanes left the military when he ran and won as senator in 2007. Civilians cannot be tried in a military court.
Lacson clarified this is all still dependent on the High Court.
"[There is] no need for a warrant of arrest. If ime-maintain ng (AFP) na ongoing 'yung court martial na na-suspend lang, they can still continue or resume a suspended court martial proceeding. But again, this is subject to interpretation ng batas," Lacson said.
(There is need for a warrant of arrest. If the AFP maintains that the court martial is still ongoing and it was only suspended [because of the amnesty grant], they can still continue or resume a suspended court martial proceeding. But again, this is subject to the interpretation of the law.)
The Department of National Defense wants to place Trillanes under its custody at the AFP Custodial Center in Camp Aguinaldo.
'Military supports Duterte'
Since the amnesty controversy broke out, President Rodrigo Duterte has issued statements challenging the military to support Trillanes and accusing some soldiers of conniving with critics to bring him down.
Lacson said that Duterte still enjoys the support of the military.
"The President shouldn't worry. Sa sarili naming (In our own) assessment, [he has] overwhelming support of the vast majority of the AFP," Lacson said.
"We understand his frustration na talagang binuhos niya na dinoble salary, dinoble ayuda…Pero being politically mature and having the experience he has in politics, he should understand na hindi naman niya pwedeng makuha yung 100% support ng Armed Forces," he added.
(We understand his frustration since he showered the military with doubled salaries, doubled aid…But being politically mature and having the experience he has in politics, he should understand that he cannot have the 100% support of the military.)
The senator also said some soldiers still support Trillanes. "We cannot avoid that, that some of them support his cause."
But Lacson also pointed out that the military should stay out of politics.
"The Armed Forces should be apolitical. Hindi sila dapat makipag-usap or makipag-collaborate with political groups. After all, ang commander-in-chief nila, iisa lang. (They shouldn't collaborate with political groups. After all, they only have one commander-in-chief)," he said. – Rappler.com