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Makati court denies Trillanes’ appeal

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Senator Antonio Trillanes IV will face trial again for rebellion charges after Makati Regional Trial Court 150 Judge Elmo Alameda denied his appeal for the court to stand by a 2011 ruling that dismissed those same charges. 

Following a motion by the justice department, Alameda ruled in September 2018 to reopen the rebellion charges that he previously dismissed in 2011 pursuant to the amnesty granted to Trillanes by former president Benigno Aquino III. 

In a ruling on December 18, 2018, but made public only on Monday, January 7, the judge denied Trillanes’ omnibus motion that sought the reversal of the September ruling.

Trillanes remains free, however, after the court granted him bail for what is otherwise a generally non-bailable charge.

Trillanes' rebellion case stems from the 2007 standoff at the Manila Peninsula.

Alameda previously ruled that Trillanes failed to sufficiently prove that he submitted the application form for his amnesty grant. This ruling clashes with the decision of another Makati judge, RTC Branch 148's Andres Soriano, who decided in favor of Trillanes.

Alameda disregarded the affidavits of military officials and other witnesses, who said that Trillanes filed an application form. Alameda said they were secondary evidence that cannot  stand on their own in such a case.

Soriano ruled the opposite way, in addition to saying that no one can reopen an already-dismissed case because it violates the right against double jeopardy. The case before Soriano is for coup d'etat which stemmed from the 2003 Oakwood Mutiny.

“Senator Trillanes failed to prove that the original of the alleged application form exists. Sen. Trillanes even failed to explain his failure to locate or find the copy thereof,” said Alameda in his December 18 order.

Despite having escaped the rebellion charges due to the amnesty, Trillanes would have to fight this legal battle again, and risks the punishment of reclusion perpetua. Trillanes' main petition to invalidate the reopening of charges is pending before the Supreme Court. 

In a statement on Monday, Trillanes' counsel, Reynaldo Robles, refused to make comment until their camp has seen the ruling.

"Needless to state, we will consider the possibility of appealing or questioning the ruling before the higher courts," he said. 

Trillanes also faces a string of other cases in multiple lower courts, including inciting to sedition at the Pasay Regional Trial Court, and libel at the Davao City Regional Trial Court. – Rappler.com

 

Lian Buan

Lian Buan covers justice and corruption for Rappler. She is interested in decisions, pleadings, audits, contracts, and other documents that establish a trail. If you have leads, email lian.buan@rappler.com or tweet @lianbuan.

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