Calida, DOJ inconsistent on amnesty review: Just for Trillanes or all?
MANILA, Philippines – Is it only the amnesty of opposition senator Antonio Trillanes IV that's being reviewed, or all the Magdalo mutineers?
There hasn’t been a clear categorical answer.
But Solicitor General Jose Calida said on Tuesday, October 9, that his initial inquiry into the amnesty documents of the mutineers covered everyone.
Calida said when he called Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on August 16, he asked for “permission” to look into all amnesty applications.
“I just asked permission to be given a copy of (Trillanes’) alleged application, but I did not receive anything,” Calida said.
When asked if the permission was only for Trillanes, Calida replied, “And others.”
So was Trillanes singled out? Let’s review.
On September 26, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said it was only “logical” to start with the “most vocal” Trillanes, but that other mutineers “may suffer the same situation.”
There were more than 250 amnesty applications under former president Benigno Aquino III's Proclamation No. 75.
“We cannot take away that risk that they're found to be deficient or non-compliant with the requirements for amnesty. Then any other person who might have not complied may suffer the same situation as Senator Trillanes,” Guevarra said.
During a hearing at the Makati Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 148 on October 5, DOJ Acting Prosecutor General Richard Fadullon said the application form itself is defective.
Fadullon said the application form’s section on admission of guilt referred only to “incidents” and not specific crimes. All applicants used the same form.
“Granting without admitting that there was an application (by Trillanes), the next question and the more crucial point, did the accused admit guilt for the offenses which he was charged?” Fadullon said.
But when asked if the allegedly defective form would risk the amnesty of others, Fadullon said it wouldn’t.
“Let’s be very clear, (President Rodrigo Duterte’s) Proclamation No. 572 pertains to Senator Trillanes only so I do not want to speculate as far as the application of others for amnesty,” Fadullon said.
When we reminded Guevarra of his earlier statement about reviewing other amnesties, the justice secretary said on October 6 that it would be “up to the President what he wants to do with the grant of amnesty to other individuals.”
On Tuesday, Calida said Trillanes was first because “he was the only one who said he’s not guilty of coup d’etat and rebellion.”
But in the same interview, Calida cited the DOJ prosecution when, in fact, the DOJ's newest evidence implicated everyone as having made an incorrect admission of guilt.
The new evidence are:
- Absence of minutes of the deliberations on all applications for amnesty
- Defective form used by all amnesty applicants
“As testified by the DOJ prosecution, there was none actually (for all the applications),” Calida said.
These inconsistencies are the latest in the gaps that have been commtited by the government since voiding Trillanes' amnesty.
We repeated the question to Calida: Is it only Trillanes or everyone?
“We are guided by the proclamation,” said the Solicitor General, whose security firm’s government contracts worth at least P358.3 million are under scrutiny. The deals mirror conflict of interest on the part of Calida.
Trillanes is leading the push to investigate the contracts. – Rappler.com