Court of Appeals won’t stop Trillanes rebellion trial for now

Lian Buan
Court of Appeals won’t stop Trillanes rebellion trial for now
The appellate court denies the opposition senator's bid for a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) 'at this time' and proceeds to tackle entirety of the main petition

MANILA, Philippines – The Court of Appeals (CA) will not stop “at this time” the reopening of the rebellion trial of opposition Senator Antonio Trillanes IV.

“The application for a temporary restraining order (TRO) or a writ of preliminary prohibitory injunction is denied at this time,” the CA 9th Division said in a resolution promulgated on Monday, March 18.

The appellate court will proceed to tackle the entirety of Trillanes’ petition which seeks to reverse the decision of the Makati Regional Trial Court (RTC) to reopen his rebellion trial on the basis of a voided amnesty. 

Trillanes had asked for a TRO to halt his trial which was supposed to start on Tuesday, March 19, but had been rescheduled to May.

“We may not temporarily restrain or preliminarily enjoin the prosecution of the criminal action for rebellion at this stage because to do so would be to grant the principal prayer for certiorari, prohibition and/or injunction without the benefit of a hearing,” the court said in the resolution penned by Associate Justice Apolinario Brussels Jr, with concurrences from Associate Justices Myra Garcia-Fernandez and Geraldine Fiel-Macaraig.

The respondents – Makati RTC Branch 150 Judge Elmo Alameda, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra, and the prosecution – were ordered to file their comments within 10 days of receipt of the resolution.

The reopened trial stemmed from the attempt of President Rodrigo Duterte to void the amnesty granted to Trillanes by then-president Benigno Aquino III in 2011. Duterte said the military could find the senator’s amnesty application form which, to him, made the amnesty void ab initio – or void from the start. (TIMELINE: Triillanes, from mutiny to amnesty)

Alameda’s neighbor judge, Andres Soriano of Branch 148, dismissed the motion to reopen the coup charges at his court citing two reasons: one cannot reopen a dismissed case because it’s double jeopardy; and the lack of a copy of Trillanes’ application form for amnesty does not mean he did not apply for it. –

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Lian Buan

Lian Buan covers justice and corruption for Rappler. She is interested in decisions, pleadings, audits, contracts, and other documents that establish a trail. If you have leads, email or tweet @lianbuan.