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SC upholds amnesty granted to Trillanes, says Duterte revocation unconstitutional

MANILA, Philippines: The Supreme Court ruled on Wednesday that the amnesty granted to former senator Antonio Trillanes 4th in 2019 was valid.

The High Court, in an en banc session in Baguio, also declared as unconstitutional Proclamation 572 issued by former president Rodrigo Duterte that revoked the amnesty given to Trillanes over his involvement in unsuccessful attempts to overthrow the administration of then-president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo

The Court, speaking through Associate Justice Maria Filomena Singh, ruled that a president cannot revoke a grant of amnesty without concurrence from Congress.

Former senator Antonio Trillanes 4th. File Photo

It also grounded its ruling on the primacy of the Bill of Rights and reaffirmed that neither the Government nor any of its officials, including the President, are above the law.

The Court ruled that the revocation of Trillanes' amnesty long after it became final and without prior notice violated his constitutional right to due process.

Proclamation 572, in seeking the revival of the criminal cases against Trillanes after they had been dismissed with finality, violated his constitutional rights against ex post facto laws and double jeopardy.


Finally, the Court found that there was convincing evidence that Trillanes did file his amnesty application.

It said the decision by the Executive to revoke only Trillanes' amnesty, even though the application forms of all the other amnesty grantees could similarly no longer be located, constituted a breach of his right to the equal protection of the laws.

The high tribunal's Public Information Office said the decision of the High Court affirmed that in balancing the exercise of presidential prerogatives and the protection of the citizen's rights, the Constitution and the laws remained as the Court's anchor and rudder.