Aquino: Trillanes applied for amnesty

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 4) — Former President Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III spoke up on the voiding of Senator Antonio Trillanes' amnesty.

Aquino told CNN Philippines' News Night Tuesday the Senator applied for amnesty.

Former President Noynoy Aquino quoted a January 25, 2011 letter from then Secretary of National Defense Voltaire Gazmin saying Trillanes qualified for amnesty.

"After careful review and deliberation, the committee found their applications to be in order and the applicants qualified for amnesty," Aquino read.


The letter was from a report of four sets of amnesties applied for. Aquino said the second list, dated January 5, included the name of ex-LTSG Antonio Trillanes IV.

The list Trillanes was included in, Aquino added, involved the Oakwood mutiny (2003) and Manila Hotel siege (2007).

"As far as our records are concerned, he did apply. And that it was deliberated by the DND ad hoc committee, and it is embodied in Resolution No. 2. And the summary of all these deliberations by that ad hoc committee was sent to me on January 25, 2011," Aquino said.

The granting of amnesty was the last step in the negotiations between the government and the concerned individuals, said Aquino.

"This was the last step in a lot of negotiations that we had in precisely how to move on and have the reconciliation aspect. Perhaps it should...  bear pointing out that everybody from the rank of Master Sergeant up, were not authorized the proclamation to be reinstated, and actually forfeited certain benefits... including back pay for the time they were... they left the discipline of the Armed Forces," he said.

If there were pending cases, Aquino added, a natural consequence of the amnesty would be the dismissal of the charges.

"If they were dismissed, what would be the basis of a court to deliberate any matter? And if they don't have a matter to deliberate, what again would be the basis for them to issue a warrant of arrest?" he said.

RELATED: Trillanes, officials decry 'political persecution' in voiding of amnesty

Aquino said the granting of amnesty is a power given to the President by the Constitution and concurred by majority of the members of Congress.

All who applied for amnesty were also given the opportunity to answer oppositions. Aquino said, from the report given to him, there were none.

Could there be repercussions?

Aquino said he was also looking at the repercussions that could happen down the line after the void of amnesty was announced in a newspaper early Monday.

"If there are certain sectors in society that rise up in rebellion, (and) we don't address the root causes, chances are they will not lay down their arms," he said.

The grant of amnesty is a tool that can be used for people to "rejoin society," he added.

Aquino said, "If they lose trust in the effectivity of an amnesty given to them, they might think it is a worthless piece of paper and you remove one avenue of attaining a cessation of a rebellious activities and the continuation of the destructive effects of such an occurrence."


Aquino said the Liberal Party would help Trillanes as "far as we are able to, to be able to defend his rights, as well as the rights of anybody else in this country."