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HomePoliticsSupreme Court Invalidates Duterte's Attempt to Revoke Trillanes' Amnesty

Supreme Court Invalidates Duterte’s Attempt to Revoke Trillanes’ Amnesty

In a major decision, the Supreme Court (SC) upheld the legitimacy of former Senator Antonio Trillanes IV’s amnesty and ruled that the proclamation that attempted to repeal it was unconstitutional.

The High Court claimed in a news release on Wednesday night that President Rodrigo Duterte was not authorized to revoke an amnesty without the approval of Congress.

“The Court’s decision is firmly grounded on the supremacy of the Bill of Rights and reiterates that no branch of government, including the President, is exempt from the law,” stated the SC’s press release.

It further elaborated, “The Court determined that the cancellation of Trillanes’ amnesty, long after its finalization and without prior notification, violated his fundamental right to due process.”

The SC’s decision, which addressed Duterte’s 2018 Proclamation No. 572 revoked Trillanes’ amnesty, was written by Associate Justice Filomena Singh.

The proclamation sought to bring up rebellion charges against Trillanes in connection with the siege of the Manila Peninsula in 2007 and the Oakwood Mutiny in 2003. But the SC declared Duterte’s conduct illegal, citing Trillanes’ right to due process being violated.

By annulling the proclamation, the High Court emphasized that reopening cases against Trillanes, previously resolved definitively, violated his constitutional safeguards against double jeopardy and retroactive laws.

Additionally, the SC found substantial evidence supporting Trillanes’ amnesty application, contrary to Duterte’s assertions that no such application existed.

The High Court underscored that the executive’s move to cancel Trillanes’ amnesty, especially in the absence of documentation for other amnesty recipients, infringed upon his right to equal legal protection.

“The ruling underscores the necessity for upholding constitutional principles and legal standards when balancing presidential powers and safeguarding citizens’ rights,” reiterated the SC’s press release.

Under the 1987 Constitution, the president holds the authority to grant amnesty with the majority approval of Congress.

Trillanes, known for his outspoken criticism of Duterte’s drug war policies, previously filed an international complaint against Duterte in 2017 with the International Criminal Court, alongside former Representative Garry Alejano (Magdalo Partylist).

Moreover, following the 2016 presidential elections, Trillanes lodged a plunder accusation against Duterte, alleging undisclosed wealth.

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