Defective in all

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The court hearings on mutineer Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV bared that one standard form for the amnesty application featuring boxes for ticking was distributed to 277 rebel soldiers indicating the rush employed in the process.

The mutineers encompassing the 2003 Oakwood mutiny, 2006 Fort Bonifacio standoff and the 2007 Manila Peninsula siege in effect received a mass pardon similar to the Church’s general absolution in which the bishop was former President Noynoy Aquino.

Two Makati courts are hearing the rebellion charges on Trillanes and a government petition to issue an arrest warrant for non-bailable coup d’etat charges on him as a result of the voiding of the amnesty given to him.

Prosecutor General Richard Anthony Fadullon who is representing the government said the standard application form did not even specify the guilt that should be admitted as required under the procedures for the grant of amnesty.

Fadullon said the mutineers can’t admit guilt to an incident. “An incident is not an offense, so as a consequence of that incident, there are crimes for which they were charged,” Fadullon said.

President Rodrigo Duterte signed Proclamation 572 last 31 August that invalidated the grant of amnesty only on Trillanes on two grounds: that he did not file an official amnesty application form and that the former Philippine Navy Lieutenant Senior Grade “never expressed his guilt for the crimes that were committed.”

The circumstances being revealed in the ongoing hearings only point to former President Noynoy Aquino rushing the process primarily for Trillanes’ benefit prior to the 2010 issuance of Proclamation 75 that granted the amnesty.

At that time, Trillanes was already a senator but was detained for the failed coup attempts he led.

Noynoy was then in desperate need of support in the Senate as part of the vindictive campaign of running after officials of the administration of former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

Fadullon said the amnesty application form was defective since instead of an admission of guilt, the form only contained boxes to check to indicate which Trillanes adventure they participated in.

“Not included was the specific offenses that the rebel soldiers were required to admit guilt on.

Not included was the specific offenses that the rebel soldiers were required to admit guilt on. Trillanes was quoted as saying the Magdalo mutineers will not admit to the guilt on crimes charged against them to satisfy the amnesty requirement.

Col. Josefa Berbigal, the Department of National Defense (DND) officer who received the application of Trillanes, said at the hearing all applicants were given “only one form to file” yet nobody can present even one copy of the application form.

“The mutineers can’t admit guilt to an incident.

The prosecutors checking the validity of the application forms given the mutineers point to the possibility Noynoy and his Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin being included in the filing of cases related to the rushed amnesty grant.

The DND said aside from the absence of the application forms in their records, there are also no records of minutes of deliberations for the 250 amnesty applicants which were required prior to the issuance of Noynoy’s Proclamation 75.

A cross examination of DND chief counsel Norman Daanoy indicated that the missing minutes do not only pertain to Trillanes but also to all the applicants.

The government team, however, indicated that the government is only after Trillanes’ amnesty and not the other mutineers.

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra explained the exclusivity to Trillanes as part of presidential prerogative similar to that exercised in the grant of amnesty.

Proving the process of granting amnesty along with the application forms as defective will not free Trillanes from his current predicament of facing charges for his military adventures against the government.

It will introduce, however, the complicity of the acts of Noynoy and Gazmin in disregarding the system in the exercise of the presidential prerogative.

At the end of the day, as Noynoy would say, it would likely be him and Gazmin who would be held accountable for the fast-tracked process of granting pardon to those who tried to grab power through a coup d’etat.

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