Without saying why, Calida called Lorenzana for Trillanes' amnesty records

MANILA, Philippines (3rd UPDATE) – Solicitor General Jose Calida called up Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Delfin Lorenzana about Senator Antonio Trillanes IV's amnesty records on August 16, Lorenzana himself announced in an impromptu press conference on Monday, September 10.

"He (Calida) asked me, he asked me personally by phone to get the amnesty records niya (Trillanes) sa (at the) Department of Defense and sa AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines), so I provided him," Lorenzana said in Camp Aguinaldo.

Lorenzana did not elaborate during the briefing on what he "provided" Calida, since the solicitor general himself later told President Rodrigo Duterte that the senator's application form was missing. This was one of the reasons cited by Duterte in voiding Trillanes' amnesty.

Asked to clarify by reporters, Lorenzana backtracked, saying he did not give any records, but only access to a staff of Calida who went to the DND.

"I did not say I provided him any records. What I said was he asked me if we at DND have a record of amnesty of Trillanes and his group. I replied I don't know as this happened in many years ago. I asked our JAGS (Judge Advocate General's Service) to assist the SOLGEN. Solgen Calida sent one of his staff to the JAGS," he said in a text message.

It is unclear when Calida's staff member went to the JAGS, which acts as a secretariat for military administrative cases.

He said that it was only later on August 31 that the AFP General Headquarters' personnel division (J1) gave a certification that Trillanes' amnesty records were missing.

When was the call? Lorenzana said Calida phoned him on August 16, or 15 days before Duterte issued Proclamation No. 572 voiding Trillanes' amnesty for two reasons: one was the supposed missing application form and two, the government's allegation that Trillanes did not admit guilt for his involvement in mutinies against the Arroyo administration. Documents later obtained by Rappler showed he did both.

Lorenzana said he did not know at the time of the call why Calida was asking for the senator's amnesty records. 

He said he did not ask simply because Calida is the government's top lawyer. 

The defense chief admitted that Duterte issued the proclamation without consulting him. (READ: Duterte did not consult Lorenzana on Trillanes amnesty)

Lorenzana added that Calida also asked for the amnesty papers of 100 ex-mutineers who belong to the so-called "Trillanes group."

When news on the President's order broke last September 5, a military spokesman said it was Calida who had asked the military for the certification on Trillanes' amnesty records. – Rappler.com

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Rambo Talabong

Rambo Talabong covers security, crime, and the city of Manila for Rappler. He was chosen as a Jaime V. Ongpin Fellow in 2019 for his reporting on President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs.

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