By Genalyn Kabiling
The government continues to respect Senator Antonio Trillanes IV’s constitutional right to due process amid the pursuit of criminal cases against him, Malacañang said Friday.
Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo made the remark while trying to defend the legality of the proclamation that nullified Trillanes’ amnesty for failure to meet certain requirements.
“Senator Trillanes cannot claim any denial of his right to due process since he was and is being given his day in court,” Panelo said in a statement.
“As the government prosecutes the criminal charges against Senator Trillanes through proper legal channels, it will continue to respect the independence of the Judiciary in deciding his cases, as well as afford him his constitutional right to due process,” he said.
Panelo also said there was no threat of illegal arrest of Trillanes since President Duterte has directed law enforcement agencies to wait for any issuance of warrant from the courts.
“Senator Trillanes’ continued freedom from arrest and ability to present his arguments before the court are testaments of the government’s respect for his constitutional right to due process,” he said.
Trillanes has appealed to the Makati Regional Trial branch 148 to reconsider its decision upholding the validity of President Duterte’s Proclamation No. 572 that revoked his amnesty last September. His camp raised a number of arguments including the claim that such proclamation violated his right to due process and equal protection when it was used by authorities in trying to arrest him.
Panelo, however, insisted that the proclamation was “a valid exercise of executive power.” He said the President has the constitutional mandate to ensure the enforcement of all laws, including the lawful prosecution of those who violate such laws.
Panelo also disputed Trillanes’ claim that the proclamation was an intrusion or usurpation into the powers of the judiciary. He said proclamation merely seeks to correct an error in which the dismissal of the charges against Trillanes was based.
“The court will still have the prerogative to rule upon the prosecution of Senator Trillanes,” he said.
He also denied Trillanes’ allegations that the proclamation violates the principle of immutability of final court decisions.
“To be clear, the principle of immutability of final court decisions or rulings may not be used as a shield to perpetuate illegality. An act of fraud can never estop the government from enforcing the law in the interest of protecting the people,” he said.
“Verily, it is Senator Trillanes himself who continues to violate the very definition and concept of an amnesty and seeks to subvert it,” he added.