On the left corner — Sen. Trillanes’ absence of admission to committing crimes against the state pending before the Regional Trial Court (RTC)-Makati. And on the right corner — President Duterte’s supposed admission to extrajudicial killings (EJK) pending before the International Criminal Court (ICC). In this boxing match of “admissions,” Trillanes is clearly at the losing end.
Groggy and nearly down for the count, Trillanes is grasping at straws, and now cites the President’s statement on the EJK to hopefully help his case to win public sympathy and opinion. But then, who would one choose to believe? A convicted rebel, with a penchant for disobeying authorities under the guise of being a truth crusader, but in a reality an attack dog of the opposition, or a President who consistently enjoys the trust of the people despite purported setbacks caused by his honest and passionate views in leading the country? There seems to be no question.
The fact remains Trillanes’ clear admission of guilt is not as absent as his sanity, and this was very basis of the resolution of Branch 150, RTC-Makati in re-issuing the warrant of arrest against him. To recall, upon prodding by Judge Elmo Alameda for a copy of the application for amnesty, Trillanes failed to produce it, as well as any other hard evidence to prove that the complete submission of the requirements for an amnesty grant.
Trillanes may be free to go home in the meantime, as he is still currently on bail in relation to the proceedings before Branch 150, RTC-Makati, which he filed last week. The big question now is with Branch 148, RTC-Makati, where the coup d’etat charge is pending, and the next hearing date is on Friday, 5 October, during which evidence may be produced to determine the issuance of a warrant of arrest in the criminal case for coup d’etat.
Looking at the Branch 148’s Order dated 28 September, the same issues decided upon by Branch 150 will be decided in Branch 148, particularly whether Trillanes submitted the requisite application for amnesty and whether there was an admission of guilt. Since courts traditionally adhere to previous same or similar decisions, a betting man would surely place his money on Branch 148’s issuance of an arrest warrant.
Capitalizing on this lull period, the yellow-army, in a temporary joyous moment, cherished like fools in the aftermath of President Duterte’s statement that EJK is his only sin. To quote directly from the President: “Ako, I will talk to a political exercise now. What are your sins? Ako? Sabi ko nga sa military, ano kasalanan ko? Nagnakaw ba ako dyan ni piso? Did I prosecute na pinakulong ko? Ang kasalanan ko lang, yung mga extrajudicial killings.”
The yellow-army seemingly forgot about how the President conducts his public speeches. We have seen them all before on his remarks on former US President Barrack Obama, the Pope and others. Yet, despite all this, the President has enjoyed surging trust and approval ratings. This — on the EJK — is nothing new.
And we all know that the President will own up to this statement in the next few days, mainly because he is a no-nonsense leader that is not afraid to say what he thinks. As such, Trillanes, former Solicitor General Florin Hilbay, former Secretary Edwin Lacierda and the rest of the yellow-pack can say what they feel for now and eat their words later.
To further emphasize the misplaced position of the opposition, the National Union of People’s Lawyers, chaired by former Rep. Neri Colmenares, stated they will file a supplemental pleading to the ICC, citing the Philippine Rules of Court on admission of guilt. Obviously, our local rules are not binding in foreign proceedings applying international law.
Secretary Harry Roque said it correctly — that there was no admission at all. The President merely emphasized that not a single corruption charge can be filed against him, and that should there be any, it would be his war on drugs, to which any and all deaths caused by this drug war can be easily and conveniently attributed to the President, even without any evidence. To be sure, the President will not run away from any allegation and will continue to press hard against the drug traffickers.
“The big question now is with Branch 148,
where the coup d’etat charge is pending.
What the public may have forgotten is that it is the stand of the administration that the ICC does not have jurisdiction over it after all. On 16 March, the Philippines submitted its letter of withdrawal before the United Nations. The President has been vocal on this matter and a pending case to validate the Philippines’ withdrawal is pending before the Supreme Court.
Thus, ICC case is of no importance at all.
Trillanes may be able to “chill” (as he said) in the meantime, but in this battle of “admissions,” it may be favorable for him to admit sooner that he indeed has failed to submit all the requirements for his amnesty. Why still delay the inevitable?