Trillanes camp insists on proper hearing at Makati court
MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – The camp of Senator Antonio Trillanes IV insisted that Makati Regional Trial Court Branch 150 Judge Elmo Alameda should hear his case properly, after he was issued an arrest warrant and a hold departure order (HDO).
During the hearing on Friday, October 12, Trillanes' lawyer Rey Robles argued that the court should set the case for hearing "for the proper reception of evidence," now that they are "no longer rushing" to resolve the case.
"Nung kinonsider ang motion, may urgency dahil baka tumakas si Senator Trillanes. Eh wala nang ganun ngayon dahil may HDO at andiyan na ang warrant. Walang rason para magmadali ngayon," Robles said.
(When the motion was considered there was urgency because Senator Trillanes might flee. That's not applicable right now because there is an HDO already and he was issued a warrant. There's no longer any reason to rush right now.)
Robles said the Supreme Court had already referred to the issue as being factual in nature. He called this a "supervening event" that the court should consider:
- Whether or not Trillanes filed for an application of amnesty
- Whether or not Trillanes admitted guilt for his crimes and/or acts that were the subject of amnesty
"There should be a proper opportunity for the parties to present evidence. What we are questioning is that, what is the DOJ's (Department of Justice) evidence? Their only evidence is the certification that they could not find his records. They didn't say he did not apply," Robles told reporters in a mix of English and Filipino.
Robles said that the evidence that should be considered in this case are those that are testimonial in nature. He said that the "best evidence rule" – which requires original copies of Trillanes' amnesty application form – does not apply here because the contents of the document are not being contested anyway.
During the hearing on Friday, state prosecutors submitted their comment on Trillanes' omnibus motion for reconsideration. The DOJ asked Branch 150 to junk Trillanes’ motion for reconsideration for lack of merit.
State prosecutors argued that the court “correctly” used the best evidence rule.
“Without the presentation of the duly filled-up amnesty application form of accused Trillanes, its duplicate or photocopy, coupled by certification by the Office of the J1, Armed Force of the Philippines, there is no application to speak of, and its existence is suspect,” the DOJ said in its comment.
Judge Alameda gave the Trillanes camp 5 days to respond to the DOJ's comment.
On September 25, Alameda granted the DOJ's request, as he found that Trillanes "had failed to substantiate his claim" that he had filed for amnesty.
The senator was unable to produce original documents, but submitted a sworn affidavit of a DND officer certifying that an application was indeed filed. (READ: Court handling rebellion case asks Trillanes for actual amnesty form) – Rappler.com