Where senators stand on possible arrest of colleague Trillanes

September 5, 2018 - 6:36 PM
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Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III steps between Senators Richard Gordon (left) and Antonio Trillanes IV after they exchanged words during a hearing. (Philstar.com/File photo)

Some senators have circled the wagons around Antonio Trillanes IV who is being threatened by the Duterte administration with jail time after his amnesty was revoked through Proclamation 572.

Only 12 senators shared reactions and statements on the controversial case that may lead to Trillanes going back to jail.

Vicente Sotto III

The senate president will not allow Trillanes to be arrested within the premises of the Senate building in Pasay in adherence to a Senate tradition and “to preserve the dignity of the Senate.”

“A senator cannot be arrested within the Senate premises so if Sen. Trillanes wants to remain in the Senate premises, then the instructions to the Sargeant at Arms is that he cannot be arrested,” Sotto explained.

Sotto likened this to the arrest of Senator Leila de Lima last year, wherein she voluntarily surrendered to the Philippine National Police.

Sotto, as Senate President, clarified that he is not siding with Trillanes.

“Who am I to judge whether there is legal basis or not? I cannot be a judge of that. The proper courts will be of judge of that,” the senator said.

Franklin Drilon

For the senate minority leader, the revocation violates the right against double jeopardy.

“Given that the court has already validly terminated and dismissed the criminal cases arising from the same actions, the issuance of Proclamation no. 572 and the reopening of the criminal cases will violate Sen. Trillanes’ right against double jeopardy,” Drilon said.

Drilon explained that the proclamation has “no basis,” because the Regional Trial Court dismissed Trillanes’ criminal cases related to the Oakwood mutiny which validates that he completed his amnesty application.

Leila de Lima

De Lima believed that such move violates the rights of the person, particularly the “non-impairment of contracts” provision in Section 10 of the Bill of Rights, which states that: “No law impairing the obligation of contracts shall be passed.”

She pointed out that Trillanes and his supporters back then had already vested rights when amnesty was granted to them by virtue of Proclamation No. 75 in 2010.

“In the particular case of Sen. Sonny, there have been vested rights (accruing) already from the time his amnesty was granted. Hindi na ito mababalewala pa na hindi nalalabag ang mga probisyon ng ating mga batas, na nahahalintulad sa doktrina ng non-impairment of contracts sa Sec. 10 ng ating Bill of Rights,” de Lima said.

Paolo “Bam” Aquino IV

Aquino expressed his support for Trillanes, saying that the government should focus on solving the country’s problems rather than on persecuting a single person.

“Huwag na tayong lumayo sa mga tunay na problema ng bayan. Tama na, sobra na ang pananakot at pang-aabuso sa mga tulad ni Sen. Trillanes na hinding hindi magpapatahimik,” Aquino said.

Risa Hontiveros

Hontiveros echoed the views of her colleagues that the revocation is unconstitutional, but her reason is it lacked the nod of the Congress.

“While the Executive has the power to grant amnesty, it must have the concurrence of a majority of all the members of Congress. The same goes with revocation,” the former Akbayan representative said.

Francis Pangilinan

Similar to Hontiveros, Pangilinan emphasized that vetoing a presidential amnesty requires the consensus of both chambers of the Congress as stated in the Constitution.

“The Constitution provides that an amnesty proclamation requires the concurrence of both Houses of Congress and therefore the said revocation requires our concurrence and is therefore not immediately executory,” Pangilinan said.

Pangilinan deemed that such surprise move is also just a way to silence those who are against the administration.

Ralph Recto

Recto recalled how he was at Trillanes’ side when the senator won in the 2007 and 2013 elections, implying that millions of Filipinos voted and trusted him.

He also believed that the two-term senator already had his time as a delinquent in House Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s time as president.

“We should honor the mandate and the trust millions of our countrymen had reposed on Sen. Trillanes. If he had committed offenses after Peninsula (Manila mutiny), if he had broken any law since, then the right course is to charge him, and not to nullify an amnesty that he applied for, recommended by the military, granted to him by the president, and concurred in by Congress,” the politician said.

Francis Escudero

Similar to others, Escudero perceived that the police cannot just arrest Trillanes without a warrant because the amnesty given to him before already vested him his rights.

“This is not one of the exceptions where a warrantless arrest can be done, so absent a warrant of arrest issued by a court, Sen. Trillanes cannot be arrested by the CIDG just like that,” the senator shared on Twitter.

Joel Villanueva

Villanueva noted on the importance of a healthy opposition in any administration in his post on Twitter, alluding to how Duterte kept on persecuting his critics.

“Having been in public office for almost 20 years I sincerely believe that the core of democracy is a vibrant opposition. Without it, we are treading into a dangerous path,” he said.

Nancy Binay

Binay, who had previously been at odds with Trillanes, told him a common friendly advice: “This too shall pass.”

“Lilipas din ‘yan. From somebody na pinagdaanan ‘yung ganyan, pagdaanan lang, lilipas din ‘yan,” she said in an interview.

Cynthia Villar

Villar reiterated Sotto’s earlier explanation of a tradition that senators cannot be arrested while inside the building.

“Sinabi naman ng senate na he cannot allow him to be arrested here in the senate. ‘Yan ang stand ng senate,” Villar said in a chanced interview with reporters.

Juan Miguel Zubiri

Zubiri also appeared to be on neutral ground when he was asked for his opinion on the unfortunate incident that befell his colleague.

“The matter concerning one of our colleagues (Trillanes) will have to be discussed by the Senate as a collegial body,” Zubiri said.