AFP Chief: Records show Trillanes applied for amnesty, but papers missing due to 'lapses'

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, October 2) — Military records show Senator Antonio Trillanes IV applied for amnesty, but  the documents cannot be found because of "lapses" in the organization,  Armed Forces Chief General Carlito Galvez Jr. said today.

He made the statement at a hearing on the 2019 budget of the Defense Department when asked by Trillanes himself if the senator applied for amnesty.

"Regarding sa amesty application ko - alam niyo naman ang totoo - gusto ko malaman, nag-apply ba ako ng amnesty as far as your investigation is concerned?" he asked both Galvez and Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana.

Galvez confirmed that Trillanes applied, citing the testimony of the military officer who administered the amnesty on the Senator  in January 2011.  According to Lt. Col. Josefa Berbigal, former head of the amnesty committee secretariat, Trillanes was administered the oath at the Armed Forces headquarters in Quezon City. 

But Galvez said the documents on this cannot be found because of possible lapses on the part of his officers. He said the records were not transmitted to the office which certified that Trillanes did not file his application.

"Apparently ang (findings) namin there's some lapses na hindi naibaba ang documents sa J1, which is basically the repository of all documents. All the papers were not brought down sa GHQ (General Headquarters). Ito ang nakita namin sa investigation namin, kaya po si Thea Andrade wala pong nakitang papel, kaya nag-certify siya na walang papel," he explained. 

In his proclamation order voiding Trillanes' amnesty, President Rodrigo Duterte cited the statement of Andrade, the Armed Forces records custodian, that Trillanes' application could not be found.

Malacañang, however, dismissed the Galvez's claims and maintained that Trillanes did not file any application.

"There's visuals that he applied for amnesty but the question is, where is the form? It all boils down to where is the form," Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a Palace press briefing in the afternoon.

Trillanes earlier presented video footage that he indeed applied for amnesty, but Malacañang stressed he should produce an application form that shows his admission of guilt.

Roque added Galvez's opinion "doesn't matter (because) he's not a lawyer."

Trillanes earlier said that Solicitor General Jose Calida stole his records, a claim denied by the government's top lawyer. For his part, Lorenzana confirmed Calida called him on August 16, inquiring about the senator's amnesty papers.

Trillanes is out on bail after a branch of the Makati Regional Trial Court revived his rebellion case and ordered him arrested in line with Duterte's voidance of his amnesty.