Press Release
December 21, 2010


SP: I understood the program of the court at that time because wala pa yung confirmation ni President. So I actually sent a filler to the court to open a discussion of the issue.I have to open and present to him the concept. Mabuti naman that the court had an open mind. But at that point he said that he already prepared his decision and it was only a matter of time for him to promulgate it.

 Q: Hindi na ba po ilalabas ang decision?

SP: Hindi na dahil kahit i- court convict siya, he's covered by the amnesty.

Q: Sir, convicted na? What was the ruling?

SP: If the decision is acquittal, then I am sure that the court would have issued it earlier. In spite of the amnesty, the court would have promulgated the decision, but, it did not. So this gave me an impression that the decision was for conviction.

Q: Sir, you met with Judge Pimentel personally?

SP: Yes, I met him. I talked to him but I did not discuss the merits of the case. No discussion about what his decision was. The only subject matter we discussed was whether the court would be open to the idea of allowing the transfer of the custody of Sen. Trillanes from Camp Crame to the Senate. Without prejudice to the promulgation of the case. I talked to Judge Pimentel, but I never discussed the case with him neither he did open up to me the case. I talked to Judge Pimentel I think about a month ago and this was already after the President issued the amnesty proclamation. Exact place where we met was at the Hotel Intercon coffee shop. Except for one lawyer, no one else was present. We did not discuss anything about the case. All I discussed with him is the possibility of the Senate getting the custody of Sen. Trillanes, in lieu of being confined continually in Camp Crame, so that he could do the work of a senator. I presented to him the problem of the Senate that we are short of members. We have one vacancy, Sen. Lacson is not here and Sen. Trillanes is in confinement. So out of 24 senators, only 21 are working. We have so many issues to consider that require certain number of votes. We needed the adequate number of senators to dispose some of these issues. At that point, the President has already issued his proclamation. I told him that I will advise the lawyers of Sen. Trillanes to file a motion. The Senate also filed a motion to get the custody of Sen. Trillanes. And I think that was resolved by the court.

Q: Sir, can you say that your meeting with him carried a lot of weight on this issue?

SP: No. I don't think I can pressure Judge Pimentel. I know him well. He's from Aurora province. I knew his father who was I think the Mayor of Baler. So I would not pressure any member of the court. It simply that it was my duty as the Senate President to act within the bounds of my professional ethics and be respectful of the judicial ethics to work for the welfare of the members of the Senate as well as the interest of the Senate. So I have to take that effort to reach out to the court. Not because I wanted Sen. Trillanes to get acquitted or to be convicted, that was beside the point. I never discussed the merits of the case.

Q: So Sir bilang kayo ang custodian, libre po si Sen. Trillanes umikot kahit saan niya gusto?

SP: Yes, I will be responsible for it. Q: Sir, the security you assigned for Sen. Trillanes, was that to keep him from fleeing? May condition ba ' yun? SP: Wala. I am a lawyer. I practice law and I know the norms under which we lawyers comfort ourselves with respect to our dealing with the courts and in obedience to their orders. So, given the fact that I was given the custody of Sen.Trillanes and he has been amnestied, that is to come later. Also, given the fact that he is still subject to the jurisdiction of the regional trial court before whom his case is pending, I have to go through the process of considering him still a person under judicial custody entrusted to me. So I have to put a symbol of authority to establish that status. That is why we have to assign to him two members of OSAA.

Q: Required ba po si Sen. Trillanes mag report sa inyo regularly to inform yung whereabouts niya?

SP: No.

Q: Ano po yung terms ng custody? Ano po yung mga limitations?

SP: Wala. The limitation is his status as a person with a case before the court. But that status is softened by the fact that there is a proclamation by the President granting people like him the amnesty which assures the freedom to him after complying with the requirements of the proclamation.

Q: Can he go abroad?

SP: Well, that is subject to my authority to either grant or not grant.

Q: So pwede po siya mag abroad?

SP: No. I will not dare allow him to go abroad until he gets his amnesty.

Q: So wherever he goes inside the country, he'll have his escorts?

SP: He will have to be accompanied by the OSAA.

Q: But you did not restrict him from getting outside the country?

SP: No. It will be a foolish of him to runaway. For what he is running away from? He has already the guarantee of the proclamation of the President. All he has to do, with the concurrence of both houses of Congress, the only thing is, he has to comply with the condition that he must apply for amnesty.

Q: Sir, sa proceso dadaan pa sa defense department 'yong approval ng amnesty. Sa tingin n'yo si Trillanes lulusot na doon?

SP: Ano'ng ihahadlang ng defense department? All they have to do is: "Did you participate in the Oakwood incident? Were you a participant in the Peninsula incident?" "Yes. That's why I am applying for amnesty and I comply with the requirements. I am willing to take my oath of allegiance to the Republic of the Philippines and to swear to preserve and defend and die for the Constitution." That's it.

Q: Was there a special request for a time frame?

SP: Wala. In fact, yesterday I came here because we had a Christmas party for the office of the Senate President. I did not know there was going to be an order. I was about to leave when I was told that I have to write a letter of acceptance or a letter to agree to assume the responsibility to take custody of and be responsible for Sen. Trillanes. I signed it.

Q: Were you informed of an official order from the court?

SP: I was informed by the lawyer of Sen. Trillanes. I think it was Atty. Robles who called my office and I said: "Surely, you tell the court to email the order to me" and I signed the letter then I went home.

Q: Pupunta ba dito si Trillanes bukas?

SP: Sabi n'ya baka bukas.

Q: Sir, do you expect him to report for work:

SP: Oh yes, I expect him to be working already, to do the job of a senator. That is why we requested that he be transferred to us.

Q: Would you have something prepared to welcome him?

SP: We will welcome him in the session Hall. Walang ceremonias 'yan. He will answer the roll call. Sen. Antonio Trillanes. Present.

Q: Magco-conduct na ba siya, sir, ng committee hearings?

SP: Oo. Maka-pag privilege speech na s'ya.

Q: Sir, 'yong mga kasama ni Trillanes na naka-detain pa rin, pwede rin mag file ng motion for temporary liberty?

SP: I think they can do the same provided there are agencies of government willing to accept the responsibility for them. At this point, it's unthinkable for anyone of them to abscond, to escape or to hide. Hide from what?

Q: Sir, there's no need for the promulgation anymore?

SP: No need. In fact, I think it was a wise move on the part of the court not to promulgate the decision. For what purpose? To show the good analysis of the evidence? Hindi na kailangan 'yon.

Q: Pero na-mention ba ni Judge Pimentel na wala nang promulgation?

SP: I never had any contact with the judge except that one time when we met.

Q: There are very strong calls for all those beneficiaries of the amnesty proclamation to admit their guilt or show remorse...

SP: My God, when you apply for amnesty, what is that? You admit that you have participated in that act. It will be silly to think that a person will apply for amnesty if he was not a part of the event.

Q: Pero, sir, 'yong parang public declaration of remorse?

SP: What remorse? You have to bear in mind that these guys did it out of conviction. Whether you agree with them or not, you have to accept that no one will do an act like that unless he was convinced that it was, for him, the right thing to do. Just like what I did in 1986. I did not go there with any equivocation.

Q: Walang promise that he will not do it again?

SP: How can he do it again? He's going to be a politician, no longer a member of the military. Once you're out of it, that's it.

Q: How about the other mutineers?

SP: I don't think they will do that. Alam mo, 'yong na-involve sa ganyan, you can do it only once. It's seldom that you succeed. The two important elements in any war plan is uncertainty and chance. You can never anticipate everything.

He wants to stay with his family first and enjoy their company. We have to respect that.

Q: Sir, 'yung nakausap kayo ni Judge Pimentel, positive naman 'yong response:

SP: Yes. The first and the only time.

Q: Sir, 'yung custody ng Senate hangang kalian effective?

SP: Until he is in amnesty.

Q: Sabi n'ya kayo nag advise sa lawyer n'ya to file a motion for temporary release?

SP: I suggested to them, I will not file the motion. I suggested them, tell the lawyers of Sen. Trillanes to file the motion.


Q: Sir, pwede ba ma-impeach si Ombudsman Gutierrez because of the plea bargaining agreement?

SP: I cannot comment on that because in the impeachment, other than the President, ako ang presiding officer.

Q: Pero under our law pwede ba 'yong plea-bargaining agreement?

SP: Mayroon yan. Nasa batas natin, ano magagawa natin? Kinopiya natin 'yan sa Amerika 'yang, plea bargain, kinopiya natin 'yong pre-trial conference, kaya na gaganito ang systema. 'Yong panahon ko, wala 'yan mga plea bargaining, wala 'yan mga pre-trial conference. You must show to me that you are a lawyer.

Q: Kailan ba pwede mag plea-bargain?

SP: When the case is filed.

Q: Sir, how do you feel about the President questioning the decisions of the court?

SP: That is within his right. The President is the top soldier of the country, the top executive of the country, the top policeman of the country and he is the top prosecutor of the country. He can say..."I do not agree with your decision." Ngayon, kung na dismiss na 'yong kaso because of that, nag file na 'yung prosecution ng dismissal, wala na. Jeopardy na kung nakapag-plead na s'ya. 'Yung si Gen. Garcia, he was already arraigned, idinismiss ng prosecutor 'yong kaso n'ya because of the plea bargain, eh tapos na. The President cannot reverse it because you are already dealing with the Bill of Rights. No person shall be put twice in jeopardy for the same offense. In a plea bargain, the lower offense must be embraced by the offense by which under you were charged. For instance, you are charged with murder, you cannot plea bargain and say, I am willing to be charged only with libel. The case that you will plea in lieu of the main case will be of the same genera of the same case.

Q: If there's a separation of the Executive and Judiciary, why does the President often question the decision of the courts?

SP: What he was questioning was the action of the prosecutor in agreeing to that plea of a lower offense. He is not criticizing the decision of the court. You can criticize the court for as long as the language is not vulgar, not abrasive. It has to be a civil expression of an opinion.

Q: Would you agree to the observation that the Executive and the Judiciary are on a collision path?

SP: No. In a democracy, the three departments are separate and because of that separation, there is that possibility that they may not agree with one another. They're independent from one another but they also coordinate. At the background of separation and independence is the duty to coordinate the three departments to serve the interest of the country and the people. Hindi naman independent republics mga 'yon. They are part of one single Constitution, they are a part of one single government , one single sovereignty. They have to work together to serve the nation, using the mandates and the powers given to them separately by the people.

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