SOLICITOR General Jose Calida yesterday asked the Supreme Court to dismiss the petition of opposition Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV questioning the legality of Proclamation No. 572 which voided the lawmaker’s amnesty.
In an 81-page comment, Calida stressed Trillanes’ petition was bereft of merit because Proclamation No. 572 was valid as it voided the amnesty grant under Proclamation No. 75 issued in 2011 for being unconstitutional.
According to Calida, Proclamation No. 75 violated Section 19, Article VII of the Constitution, which provided that only the President may grant amnesty.
In Proclamation No. 75, the amnesty was signed only by former defense secretary Voltaire Gazmin and not by former president Benigno Aquino III.
“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,” he explained.
“Neither the DND Secretary nor a special committee could grant or approve amnesty,” Calida stressed.
As stated in Proclamation No. 572, the solicitor general told the Court that Trillanes did not comply with the minimum requirements for the amnesty.
“The petitioner neither filed a sworn application nor admitted his guilt which would have entitled him to the benefits of the amnesty proclamation,” he reiterated, adding that the senator “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) in December 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 further said.
The camp of Trillanes has submitted to the two Makati City Regional Trial Courts the senator’s counter-affidavit that includes the affidavit of the military officer that supervised the former Navy soldier’s application for amnesty.
Trillanes said that he is positive that the claim of the administration’s prosecutors that he did not file his application for amnesty will hold no basis with the inclusion of the affidavit of Col. Josefa Berdigal, the head of the secretariat of the Ad Hoc Committee of the Armed Forces of the Philippines which accepted his application.
“This morning nag-file ang aming kampo ng mga necessary comment para sa petitions sa RTC Court Branch 148 at 150. Makikita nyo dito sa picture na ito ako ay sumusumpa sa head ng secretariat ng Ad Hoc Committee. Siya po ay pumirma ng affidavit, si Col. Berdigal,” Trillanes said.
Part of Berdigal’s affidavit reads: “Among the application for amnesty which our committee had processed was that of Senator Trillanes which was filed on Jan. 5, 2011. I know that Sen. Trillanes filed his application because I was the one personally received his application. “
The senator then showed a picture which he included in his affidavit that shows him swearing with the Ad Hoc Secretariat.
To show that his application for amnesty was approved, Trillanes then read another part of Berdigal’s affidavit which reads: “After studying, the committee found that the application is complete, thus the DND Ad Hoc Committee recommended Sen. Trillanes’ application for approval.”
With Marlon Purificacion.