MANILA, Philippines – At first, he claimed that he could not disclose the involvement of his office in the review of the revoked amnesty of Senator Antonio Trillanes IV because of "privileged communication."
But it turns out, indeed Solicitor General Jose Calida himself asked for confirmation that Trillanes' amnesty application papers were missing. And this development was one of the grounds for the withdrawal of Trillanes' amnesty.
How it was confirmed: Calida's involvement was confirmed to reporters by Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) spokesperson Colonel Edgard Arevalo in a Camp Aguinaldo press briefing on Tuesday, September 4.
A reporter asked Arevalo: "What triggered that response from J1 (AFP's personnel division)? Who inquired and who requested?"
Without mincing words, Arevalo replied: "The Solicitor General did."
Department of National Defense spokesman Arsenio Andolong also said he could not give more details because he was not "privy" to the request. (READ: Without amnesty, Trillanes' retirement voided too)
Who did Calida speak to? According to Arevalo and Andolong, only the chief of J1, Lieutenant General Salvador Melchor Mison Jr could disclose details pertaining to the coordination with Calida.
Mison is currently the AFP chief-in-charge as General Carlito Galvez Jr is with President Rodrigo Duterte's Israel visit delegation.
Calida the mastermind? The AFP's announcement backs the earlier allegation of Trillanes, who said Calida was behind the revocation of his amnesty.
News broke about Trillanes losing his amnesty just before the senator led the Senate panel probe into the controversial multimillion-peso contracts of Calida's security firm, Vigilant Investigative and Security Agency Inc.
To recall, after leading the Oakwood mutiny in 2003 and the Manila Peninsula siege in 2007, the opposition senator was granted amnesty by then president Benigno Aquino III in 2011.
The DND and AFP earlier admitted in a press briefing that they have yet to exhaust all their efforts to retrieve Trillanes' amnesty papers, after media reports resurfaced showing Trillanes applying for amnesty right inside Camp Aguinaldo. – 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.