The Office of the Solicitor General asked the Supreme Court on Monday to dump the petition of opposition Senator Antonio Trillanes IV challenging the legality of President Rodrigo Duterte’s Proclamation 572 nullifying the amnesty granted to him during the administration of President Benigno Aquino III.
Malacañang, through Solicitor General Jose Calida, said Proclamation 572 was valid as it correctly voided the amnesty grant under Proclamation 75 issued in January 2011 during the previous administration, which he said violated the Constitution.
As a result, the Palace said, the high court should dismiss Trillanes’ petition for lack of merit.
Malacañang made its statement even as Trillanes on Monday filed documents before the two regional trial courts in Makati City rejecting the Duterte administration’s claim that he did not file his application for amnesty.
Through his lawyer, Trillanes filed the supporting documents before the Makati RTC Branch 148 and Makati RTC Branch 150 where he is facing charges of rebellion in 2003.
Calida said Proclamation 75 violated the Constitution, which he said provides that only the President may grant amnesty since it was signed only by former Defense secretary Voltaire Gazmin and not by former President Aquino as required by law.
“The power to grant clemency is a non-delegable power and solely the President’s prerogative, which must be exercised by the President personally and exclusively,” Calida said.
“Neither the Defense secretary nor a special committee could grant or approve amnesty.”
Calida said Trillanes did not comply with the minimum requirements to be amnestied.
“The petitioner neither filed a sworn application nor admitted his guilt, which would have entitled him to the benefits of the amnesty proclamation,” Calida said.
He said Trillanes “failed to attach a copy of his application and its annexes in his petition” and “also did not submit a copy of that application as required by the [Makati regional trial court] on Dec. 16, 2010.”
“More than the requisite formal requirement, the petitioner did not at all admit his guilt. He stated repeatedly in public that he does not admit committing the crimes charged against him and that the charges are erroneous.”
Calida also disputed Trillanes’ assertion in his petition that the President’s order violated the constitutional grant of “shared power” between the Executive and Legislative branches, his rights to due process and equal protection as well as the rule on double jeopardy.
Malacañang also insisted that the revocation of amnesty does not require the concurrence of Congress and that the move of the Department of Justice to file motions before the RTC where Trillanes could raise his defenses only showed that the government did not violate his right to due process. With Macon Ramos-Araneta