Lawmakers, parties hit 'cowardly' Duterte for voiding Trillanes' amnesty

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – A presidential  proclamation ordering the revocation of the amnesty granted to one of President Rodrigo Duterte's fiercest critics, Senator Antonio Trillanes IV, drew protests from some senators, district congressmen, party-list representatives, and political parties.

Proclamation 572, signed on August 31, but released only hours after it was published in the Manila Times' advertisements section on Tuesday, September 4, is grounded on the claim that Trillanes did not apply for amnesty.

The senator and former president Benigno Aquino III, who granted it, disputed the claim and said Trillaned applied for amnesty. (READ: Duterte voiding Trillanes' amnesty: Everything you need to know)

Here are the reactions of mostly opposition lawmakers and various political parties to Proclamation 572.

 

Senate 

Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon: Proclamation Number 572 has no basis.... Given that the court had already validly terminated and dismissed the criminal cases arising from the same actions, the issuance of Proclamation Number 572 and the reopening of the criminal cases will violate Senator Trillanes’ right against double jeopardy.

Senate President Pro-Tempore Ralph Recto: If he had committed offenses after Peninsula (in 2007), if he had broken any law since, then the right course is to charge him, and not to nullify an amnesty that had been granted to him. He should be granted every opportunity to challenge the revocation of the amnesty in complete freedom. 

Francis Pangilinan: Instead of addressing the rice crisis now engulfing the nation, this government is more concerned with silencing its critics using illegal and unlawful methods. We stand by Senator Trillanes, and will use all legal means to fight this illegal and abusive exercise of presidential power.

Leila de Lima: Nagpa-panic na si Duterte. Nasusukol na siya sa kanyang mga kawalanghiyaan, kabuktutan, kasinungalingan, at asal-diktador.... Lumalaki na ang oposisyong umaalma sa kanya. Kaya binabalingan ni Duterte ang mga lider na gaya ni Senator Sonny.

Risa Hontiveros: This signals the growing crackdown on the political opposition and the President's further slide into full authoritarian rule. 

Paolo Benigno Aquino IV: Habang pumipila ang mga Pilipino para sa bigas na may bukbok at nalulunod pa sa taas ng presyo ng bilihin, pagpapakulong sa oposisyon ang inaatupag ng Duterte administration.

Francis Escudero: The amnesty granted to Senator Trillanes, after acceptance and the lapse of the 15-day period to appeal, has become a vested right and I doubt if it can be voided by mere executive fiat and the corresponding order of arrest issued without going through, or being issued by, the courts.

 

House of Representatives

Edcel Lagman, Albay 1st District: Proclamation Number 75...does not provide for any revocation clause.... Amnesty, which obliterates past offenses, is final, absolute, and irrevocable, unlike a presidential conditional pardon.

Eric Erice, Caloocan City: This is crazy.... Is it now the rule that we cannot criticize government, otherwise we will be persecuted? We will be transformed into a banana republic if two sitting senators, elected by the people, are languishing in jail simply because they are in the opposition.

France Castro, ACT Teachers: This administration is so vindictive and divisive. Dapat ang inuuna ng administrasyong ito ay ang pagresolba ng krisis sa bigas, pagpapahinto sa walang humpay na pagtaas ng presyo ng mga bilihin, at pagpapatupad ng dagdag na suweldo, bago ang pulitika ng paghihiganti.

Tom Villarin, Akbayan: It’s highly preposterous and clearly a political vendetta against a very vocal critic of President Duterte. It’s a legal stretch to justify this presidential revocation of an amnesty given no less by Congress.

 

Political parties 

Aksyon Demokratiko: Aksyon Demokratiko strongly condemns the revocation of the 2010 amnesty granted to Senator Antonio Trillanes IV. Proclamation 572 is the latest act of political persecution committed by the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte. Moreover, it is a clear proof of the President's desperation to silence his dissenters.... We stand by Senator Trillanes and will never be cowed or silenced.

Akbayan: It is cowardly of Duterte to order for Trillanes' arrest while he's in a junket trip to Israel so when he comes back, he has one less critic to face.

Magdalo: This is nothing but a cowardly act by a President who wants the intoxicating feeling of people fearing him. 

Sanlakas: With the entire government machinery at the disposal of Duterte and the separation of powers between the branches of government now blurred, no one is safe from State-led persecution.  We urge the people to resist the continuing repression of our freedoms and rights. We must collectively fight any attempts to legitimize a tyrannical rule by eliminating one dissenter at a time.

Rappler.com

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