MANILA, Philippines – It's not just Senator Antonio Trillanes IV.
Solicitor General Jose Calida also inquired about the amnesty records of around 100 ex-mutineers with the Department of National Defense (DND).
No less than DND Secretary Delfin Lorenzana announced this on Monday, September 10, in an impromptu press briefing inside Camp Aguinaldo where he confirmed that Calida directly called him to ask for Trillanes' amnesty records.
He was asked later in the press briefing to expound on what he and Calida spoke about. He replied: "Gusto niyang makita 'yung amnesty ng grupo ni Trillanes, 'yung records (He wants to see the amnesty for Trillanes' group, the records)."
In the case of Trillanes, Lorenzana said he granted Calida's request without question. It is unclear whether he did the same for the others. (READ: Calida behind search for Trillanes' amnesty papers)
Asked whether other amnesty applications were missing, Lorenzana just said, "I don't know."
Who are they? Lorenzana did not give the names in the group, but he mentioned these are former mutineers also granted amnesty under former defense secretary Voltaire Gazmin. He did not give names but gave a figure.
"I think 'yung nakita ko, marami 'yun eh, 100 ata 'yun eh, kasi maraming pages 'yung pinirmahan ni Secretary Gazmin (I think what I saw was a lot, it was maybe 100, because there were a lot of pages signed by Secretary Gazmin)," said Lorenzana, citing a list of former mutineers that bore the signatures of Gazmin.
Former mutineers now in the government opposition include Magdalo Representative Gary Alejano and Quezon City Representative Joseph Christopher "Kit" Belmonte.
Why this matters: What would be ruled for Trillanes by the Supreme Court would apply to the other former mutineers, assuming that the DND also lost their records. (READ: Other amnesty certificates signed by Gazmin may be questioned – Roque)
"They are similarly situated, but let us see. It would be up to the Supreme Court. If the others have correct papers, it will be up to the proper authority to determine if they are correct. If they are not correct[ly filed], they have to redo," Lorenzana said in a mix of English and Filipino.
Trillanes, on his own, now faces criminal and administrative charges, ordered revived by the same Proclamation No. 572 which revoked his amnesty. The proclamation was issued on supposed grounds that he allegedly did not file his amnesty application and did not admit guilt in staging mutinies against the Arroyo administration. (DOCUMENTS: DND confirms Trillanes applied for amnesty) He did.
The military is insisting that they could hear Trillanes' administrative case through a general court martial, while the two Makati regional trial courts handling criminal cases have decided to hear them first before they decide on whether or not they would issue an arrest warrant against the senator. – Rappler.com
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Rambo Talabong covers the House of Representatives and local governments for Rappler. Prior to this, he covered security and crime. He was named Jaime V. Ongpin Fellow in 2019 for his reporting on President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs. In 2021, he was selected as a journalism fellow by the Fellowships at Auschwitz for the Study of Professional Ethics.