AFP Chief Galvez more credible than Roque, De Lima says conflicting claims on Trillanes’ amnesty

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Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima has considered the claim of Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff Carlito Galvez Jr. that Senator Antonio Trillanes IV applied for amnesty as credible despite administration’s efforts to debunk his statement.

De Lima, the first prominent political prisoner under the present government, said Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque only compounds the issue by telling the public not to believe Galvez, who undoubtedly speaks from a position of authority.

“After AFP Chief of Staff Carlito Galvez, Jr. admitted that Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV indeed filed an application for amnesty, Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque continues to obfuscate the issue, telling the public to believe Judge Elmo Alameda, instead of the highest official of the AFP, the institution that processed Trillanes’s amnesty,” she said in her recent Dispatch from Crame No. 395.

Contradicting Duterte’s Proclamation 572 revoking the amnesty given to Trillanes for failing to file his application and admit his guilt over two uprisings, Galvez confirmed during a Senate budget hearing that the Senator indeed applied for amnesty,

Galvez also admitted that Col. Josefa Berbigal, former head of the amnesty committee secretariat, administered Trillanes’ oath and that there might have been some “lapses” on the AFP’s end which caused the documents to be misplaced.

Despite Galvez’s claim, Roque insisted that the words of Makati Regional Trial Court Branch 150 Judge Elmo Alameda – who earlier ordered the arrest of Trillanes in connection to Proclamation No. 572 – weighed more for him.

Alameda earlier granted a government request to issue arrest warrant and hold departure order against Trillanes, ruling that the Senator failed to substantiate his claim he filed his amnesty application despite photos, videos and news reports proving such.

De Lima, a former justice secretary, maintained that Roque is not only arguing from a position of weakness but is also arguing from a position of absurdity.

“This amnesty application form issue has been argued for far too long, and not even the ruling of an obviously coopted judge can give any semblance of legitimacy to a patently outrageous legal proposition,” she said.

“The AFP Chief of Staff has already come out to stake his position on the matter. Roque should not take this with his usual dismissive and annoying style of trivializing serious challenges to Duterte’s illegal acts,” she added.

De Lima pointed out that Malacañang should be more worried about putting into ridicule the AFP’s position on the issue of Trillanes’ amnesty application, saying that “it cannot go on alienating the AFP with flippant rejoinders directed at no less than its Chief of Staff.”

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