DEPARTMENT of National Defense (DND) spokesperson Arsenio Andolong clarified on Wednesday, September 5, that embattled Senator Antonio Trillanes IV may have truly submitted an application for amnesty but such document is just not available in their office.
"Meron po 'yan. Kaya lang hindi po makita 'yung copy... Hindi naman po namin sinasabi na wala siyang application. Ang nangyari po dito sa amin sa J1 po ng AFP, hindi po makita 'yung kopya ng application," he said.
(We are not saying that he did not have an application. But J1, Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Personnel, of the Armed Forces of the Philippines could not find a copy.)
"Hindi po nagkakaintindihan. Ang akala nu'ng iba, hindi siya (Trillanes) nagbigay (ng application)... Meron po. Hindi lang makita... Ang nangyari kasi diyan, nung prinocess po 'yung kanilang amnesty, nu'ng 2011 pa po 'yun, may crineate po na ad hoc committee ang DND para suriin at irekomenda po ang kanilang mga applications for amnesty. Ang secretariat po nu'ng panahon na 'yon ay 'yung J1 po ng AFP," he added.
(There is a misunderstanding. Some people think that he did not file an application. He did. We just could not find a copy. When their application for amnesty was processed in 2011, the DND created an ad hoc committee to evaluate their application and make a recommendation. The secretariat at the time was the J1 of the AFP).
President Rodrigo Duterte ordered the arrest of Trillanes under Proclamation 572, which he signed on August 31.
The proclamation declared the amnesty granted to the senator by then President Benigno Aquino III as void ab initio (from the beginning). It also ordered the filing of criminal and administrative charges against Trillanes.
Trillanes was charged and detained over his involvement in the Oakwood Mutiny in July 2003 and the Manila Peninsula Siege in November 2007. Both were aimed at unseating then President, now House Speaker, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
Among the conditions of the amnesty was for Trillanes to admit guilt of charges filed against him and to file an amnesty application before the DND.
Proclamation 572 states that Trillanes failed to comply with the conditions of the amnesty.
"Ngayon, sa katagalan po ng panahon, nadiskubreng hindi makita du'n sa J1. Kasi nu'ng nag-inquire po ang Office of the Solicitor General dito sa J1, hindi po makita 'yung copy," Andolong said.
(When the Office of the Solicitor General inquired at the J1, they discovered that they could not find a copy.)
“May seremonyang ginawa dito sa Aguinaldo nagkapirmahan sila ng form, unfortunately we don’t have a copy of that document,” he added.
(There was a signing ceremony conducted here in Camp Aguinaldo. Unfortunately, we don't have a copy of that document.)
For his part, Trillanes maintained that he filed his application for amnesty and admitted guilt.
In a privilege speech at the Senate on Tuesday, September 4, Trillanes presented a video that recorded him filing his amnesty application before the DND as well as other news items about this in 2011.
Andolong said earlier that whatever document Trillanes may have in his possession, he may use it as his defense before the court in questioning the legalities of the revocation of the amnesty granted to him.
AFP spokesperson Colonel Edgard Arevalo said the AFP regards Proclamation 572 with presumption of regularity “unless proven otherwise by the court.”
"Ang atin pong Armed Forces, as a professional organization, looks at the Proclamation 572 with presumption of regularity on the part of the public officer performing his duty," he said.
"Lahat po ng issues, challenges or doubt regarding the regularity or legality ng Presidential Proclamation 572 na inissue ng Presidente, that could be addressed before the court," he added.
Meanwhile, in another interview, Andolong said even without an arrest warrant from the court, Trillanes may still be arrested.
He said the provost marshall may facilitate the arrest considering that Trillanes has been reverted to active military service and is now subjected to AFP rules and laws based on Proclamation 572.
Read: Court martial proceedings to proceed vs Trillanes
"What we are doing now with our MPs and legal officers at the Senate is that we are waiting to acquire his custody for the purpose of returning him to military control and for the purpose of him facing a court martial. That's the principle there," he said.
On Tuesday, Andolong said the AFP has already prepared a detention cell at the AFP custodial center for Trillanes.
Trillanes, a former Navy officer who was one of the leaders of the Oakwood Mutiny and the Manila Peninsula Siege, is holed up at his 5th floor office in the Senate to avoid arrest as of Wednesday afternoon. (SunStar Philippines)