MANILA, Philippines – Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque on Tuesday, October 2, downplayed the statements of military chief Carlito Galvez Jr that contradict the government’s case against opposition Senator Antonio Trillanes IV.
Responding to questions at a news briefing, Roque said that as a lawyer, he would “certainly” take the word of Makati Regional Trial Court Branch 150 Judge Elmo Alameda – who had ordered Trillanes’ arrest in connection to Proclamation No. 572 last week – over that of Armed Forces chief General Carlito Galvez Jr.
After citing the best evidence rule and Alameda’s decision, Roque said: “Of course, I concur as a lawyer. Certainly you shouldn’t expect me to take the side of [AFP] Chief Galvez who is not a lawyer over the words of a learned judge.”
Responding to Trillanes’ questions during a Senate budget hearing on Tuesday, Galvez said that the senator had appled for amnesty, and that there might have been “lapses” in the AFP’s handling of the senator’s amnesty documents, causing them to be misplaced.
Last week, Alameda granted a Department of Justice request to issue an arrest and hold departure order against Trillanes in connection with Proclamation 572 voiding the amnesty granted to the senator in 2011. He ruled that it was “glaringly clear” Trillanes “failed to substantiate his claim that he filed his application for amnesty.”
On Tuesday, Roque reiterated the government’s position in issuing Proclamation 572, that Trillanes “never filed an amnesty application” since the senator could not present his received copy, and his amnesty documents could not be found in the Department of National Defense, the custodian of the documents.
Roque brushed aside Galvez’s statement at the Senate hearing, citing the certification of Colonel Josefa Berbigal, former head of the ad hoc amnesty committee secretariat, that Trillanes filed an amnesty appliction.
“It doesn’t matter, he’s (Galvez is) not a lawyer,” Roque said.
The DOJ also filed a request for an arrest warrant and a hold departure order against Trillanes before Makati RTC Branch 148 over his previously dismissed coup d’etat charges, but Judge Andres Soriano deferred the decision and set another hearing on Friday, October 5. – Rappler.com