De Lima welcomes court decision on Trillanes case with ‘guarded optimism’

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Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima has welcomed with “guarded optimism” the decision of Makati Regional Trial Court Branch 148 Judge Andres Soriano denying the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) motion for the arrest of Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV.

Although she considers the development as a “positive act of independence of the judiciary” and a small victory against Mr. Duterte’s tyranny, De Lima maintained that the Filipinos should still not let their guards down.

“This act of independence from pressure exerted by Malacañang is thus a breath of fresh air coming from the judiciary,” she said in her Dispatch from Crame No. 410, acknowledging the difficulty for the judiciary to defy the wishes of Mr. Duterte himself.

“While Judge Soriano’s ruling kept Sen. Trillanes a free man, the portion which upheld the power of the President to nullify a grant of amnesty and affirmed the constitutionality of Proclamation 572 needs re-examination,” she added.

In a 33-page decision, Soriano junked the government’s request to have Trillanes arrested for charges of coup d’etat that the court had already dismissed seven years ago. The Makati Judge, however, upheld Duterte’s power to issue Proclamation No. 572.

Duterte signed Proclamation No. 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 two failed uprisings, last Aug. 31.

The Senator from Bicol said any proposition supportive of the power of the President to unilaterally revoke an amnesty granted by a previous president would be dangerous.

As such, De Lima urged the public to remain vigilant to ensure that the decision of the Makati RTC is not reversed on appeal.

“The efforts of Duterte and the DOJ to put Sen. Trillanes behind bars do not end here,” she warned.

“They will continue to move heaven and earth to get what Duterte wants, even if this means doubling their efforts to pressure the judiciary all the way up to the Supreme Court,” she added.

Like Trillanes, De Lima is a staunch critic of the administration’s bloody war on drugs which eventually led to her incarceration for trumped-up drug charges fabricated by Duterte and his henchmen.

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