By Genalyn Kabiling
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said the ruling of the Makati court denying the motion of the justice department seeking the arrest of Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV was a “pyrrhic victory” for the senator, but his legal troubles are not yet over.
Panelo said Solicitor General Jose Calida intends to elevate the case before the Court of Appeals to reverse the lower court’s decision.
“I’ve talked with SolGen and he said he will not file a motion for reconsideration but go immediately to the Court of Appeals and appeal the ruling of the court with respect to the issuance of the warrant of arrest,” Panelo said during a Palace press briefing.
“There are procedural matters decided by the court which to my mind are erroneous; how he looks at evidence despite the fact that they are only secondary evidence. So there are questions that can be properly raised in the Court of Appeals and subsequently in the Supreme Court,” Panelo explained.
In an interview, Justice secretaryMenardoGuevarra said, “It is the DOJ who will decide what legal steps to take.”
Judge Andres Bartolome Soriano in his 33-page decision held that the coup d’etat case against then Navy Lieutenant Senior Grade Trillanes has long been dismissed and “the dismissal, it appears, has become final and executory.”
“Well established is the doctrine that a final and executory judgment shall be immutable . . . and the Court finds no reason to disturb the doctrine of immutability of a final and executory judgment,” Soriano wrote in his decision.
But while applying a hands-off stance on the reopening of the coup case against Trillanes, the Court “sustained the factual bases for the issuance of Proclamation 572 which voided “ab initio” the amnesty granted by the second Aquino administration on Trillanes, among others for not complying with amnesty requirements.
Trillanes welcomed the Soriano decision which is in contrast with the ruling of Branch 150 which is handling the rebellion case against the senator and which granted him a P200,000 bail for his temporary liberty.
Panelo was, however amused by the early celebration of the senator. He noted that the court’s decision declaring Duterte’s proclamation nullifying the amnesty as “valid” was more important.
“It’s more a pyrrhic victory because if you noticed the court decided that the proclamation issued by the President is valid. They are claiming at the time the President does not have the power to void any amnesty. The court says he has,” he said.
Panelo also questioned the court’s refusal to issue an arrest warrant due to the supposed principle of immutability of judgment.
“I’m wondering why because effectively that would mean it has no jurisdiction over the case. But then again the court took jurisdiction and in fact, the parties submitted their respective position and evidence,” he said.
“Because if it has no jurisdiction, the court should have dismissed outright the motion filed and say it has no jurisdiction,” he added.
Meanwhile, Guevarra assured that the DOJ will pursue the cases against Trillanes despite calls from some legislators to drop the cases since the court already made a ruling and it wouldjust be a waste of government time and resources.
“We’re sending warning signals to other potential rebellion, sedition, and coup d’ etat plotters,” Guevarra told reporters yesterday.
“The Makati Branch 148 order is not the final word on the matter. Any other judge could have appreciated the same evidence differently, like Branch 150,” he added.(with reports from Jeffrey G. Damicog)