Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima has bewailed Mr. Duterte’s unprecedented revocation of the amnesty granted to Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV who was obviously targeted by the government for his tough stance on the President’s wrongdoings.
Branding Duterte’s order against Trillanes as a “rape of justice,” De Lima said the revocation contained in Proclamation No. 572 will remain an illegal act despite government efforts to legitimize the tyrannical act with a bastardized version of the law.
“No army of lawyers large enough, and stupid enough, can defend it. No amount of legal verbosity and pedantry can justify it. It is nothing less than an assault on the law and the rape of justice,” she said in her Dispatch from Crame No. 374.
“And just like women, who are raped not because they are beautiful but because there are rapists, justice is raped in the case of Senator Trillanes, not because justice deserves to be raped, but because there is a rapist out there. His name is Rodrigo Roa Duterte, and he wants to be first in line in the gang-rape of justice by this government,” she added.
Last Aug. 31, Mr. Duterte signed Proclamation 572 revoking the amnesty given to Trillanes on the premise that the latter failed to file his application for amnesty and admit his guilt over the Oakwood mutiny and the Manila Peninsula siege in 2003 and 2007, respectively. Trillanes, however, showed pictures and video debunking the President’s claim.
Duterte likewise ordered the Department of Justice and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) “to pursue all criminal and administrative cases” against Trillanes, and the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the AFP “to employ all lawful means to apprehend” him so that he can be detained anew.
While political persecution is something people already expected from Mr. Duterte, De Lima said the swiftness of how the institutions would be coopted and how the laws would be bastardized by an authoritarian President remain surprising.
“The effects of amnesty, the principle of double jeopardy, and the judicial nature of arrest warrants have long been established in our legal system. We did not expect that it will take only one strongman to demolish the legal system and all its fundamental principles in one fell swoop,” she said.
“This is what Duterte has achieved in ordering the arrest of Senator Trillanes without any judicial warrant, despite a case dismissal that has become final and executory, and with the illegal goal of putting him in double jeopardy,” she added.
During this so-called “age of Duterte,” De Lima said the law can be twisted any which way Duterte wants and dead cases can be brought to life.
“The criminal case of Sen. Trillanes for the crime of coup d’ etat has been closed years ago. It has long been dead and buried and, because of the amnesty granted to him, long forgotten.
“Amnesty, like death, extinguishes all criminal liability. There is neither a crime nor a criminal case to speak of. Not even the court that tried Trillanes’s case can bring it back from the dead,” she explained.
For now, Trillanes has stayed at the Senate building in Pasay City where he and his lawyers continue to discuss the legal remedies available to them in order to frustrate Duterte’s sinister plot to silence dissenters and harass members of the opposition.