Global lawmakers' group eyes visit to PH for Trillanes case

MANILA, Philippines – A global organization of lawmakers passed a resolution for its members to visit the Philippines to assess the case of Senator Antonio Trillanes IV, who faces possible arrest after a presidential proclamation ordered the revocation of his amnesty.

In its 139th assembly held in Geneva, Switzerland on Wednesday, October 18, the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) said it was eyeing another visit to the country over "deep concern" about suspected human rights violations committed against the senator.

The IPU first visited the Philippines in May 2017 for a fact-finding mission into the case of detained Senator Leila de Lima.

The IPU, established in 1889, has 171 member parliaments, which "promote democracy, equality, human rights, development, and peace."

The group said the "sudden questioning" of Trillanes' amnesty gave "serious weight" to allegations that the move was a "targeted attempt to silence" the senator. The group said they were "concerned" about his looming arrest. Trillanes is one of President Rodrigo Duterte's fiercest critics.

Trillanes was arrested then posted bail last September 25 after Makati Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 150 Executive Judge Elmo Alameda issued an arrest warrant for a rebellion charge. Meanwhile, Judge Andres Soriano of the Makati RTC Branch 148 said he was in "last stages" of deciding Trillanes' coup d’état case, which is non-bailable.

The IPU said it wanted to conduct a fact-finding mission into Trillanes' case. It questioned the legal grounds of Duterte's Proclamation 572, which claimed Trillanes failed to file his application for amnesty and admit guilt over the 2003 Oakwood mutiny and 2007 Manila Peninsula siege.

"[The IPU] wishes to receive detailed information from the relevant authorities on the factual and legal grounds justifying Proclamation No. 572 (and) decides a trial observer to closely monitor legal proceedings with regard to their compliance with international fair trial guarantees," the resolution read.

The group noted Trillanes showed photos and videos of him filing his amnesty in 2014, "debunking the President's claim." It also said that "Filipino parliamentary authorities have not responded to IPU requests for information and to its concerns."

Should the IPU visit the Philippines, they said they would also follow up on the case of De Lima.

"[The IPU] remains disturbed at the public campaign of vilification by the highest state authorities (against De Lima)," they said in a separate resolution. The group also expressed concern over referral to De Lima as "guilty" and an "immoral woman."

They called on the Senate of the Philippines and Senate President Vicente Sotto III to stand with Trillanes and De Lima. "The Senate has a special responsibility to help ensure that its colleagues participate in its deliberations and speak out when they face reprisals for their work." (READ: Why the Senate backed Trillanes but not De Lima vs Duterte– Rappler.com 

Sofia Tomacruz

Sofia Tomacruz covers foreign affairs, the overseas Filipino workers, and elections. She also writes stories on the treatment of women and children. Follow her on Twitter @sofiatomacruz. Email her at sofia.tomacruz@rappler.com.

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