Makati City Regional Trial Court (RTC)

A Makati City regional trial court (RTC) has reset to Dec. 16 the promulgation of its decision on the coup d’etat case against detained Senator Antonio Trillanes IV and members of the Magdalo group.

Judge Oscar Pimentel of the Makati RTC Branch 148 deferred the scheduled promulgation of its ruling on Thursday on the case against Trillanes and several others who allegedly tried to overthrow the previous Arroyo administration.

In his order, Pimentel granted the motion to defer filed by Trillanes and two other officers, Ltsg. James Layug and Marine Capt. Gary Alejano, seeking the deferment of his ruling on the case.

The court reset the promulgation of the judgment to Dec. 16.

In their motion, the three Magdalo leaders asked Judge Pimentel to exercise judicial restraint as the House of Representatives and the Senate tackle Proclamation No. 50 issued by President Benigno S. Aquino III granting amnesty to about 300 former and active soldiers involved in three alleged attempts to overthrow the administration of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

Covered by the amnesty were participants in the Oakwood mutiny, the February 2006 Marine Barracks stand-off and the November 2007 Manila Peninsula Hotel siege.

Under the 1987 Constitution, majority of members of Congress must concur with a President’s decision to grant amnesty to political offenders.

The three also invoked “inter-departmental courtesy” between the judiciary and the legislative branches in asking the court to defer the promulgation.

“As a matter of inter-departmental comity and judicial courtesy towards two coordinate and co-equal branches of government, [Trillanes, Layug, and Lejano] most respectfully request and move the Honorable Court to exercise judicial restraint and to either suspend or defer the promulgation of judgment in the case in order to give the Senate and House of Representatives reasonable and sufficient opportunity to discuss, consider, and either adopt or reject the concurrent resolutions required to confirm Amnesty Proclamation No. 50 of the President,” the motion filed by Trillanes’ lawyer Reynaldo Robles said.

Several sectors have voiced opposition to the amnesty grant, saying it may embolden further power grab, aside from pre-empting the court’s decision on the case.

Last week, Makati RTC Branch 150 Judge Elmo Alameda granted a request of Trillanes and his colleagues for the deferment of the trial of the rebellion case filed against them for their participation in the 2007 Manila Peninsula siege.

The detained lawmaker also cited the same amnesty proclamation as the reason in asking for the trial suspension.

The prosecution panel headed by Senior Deputy State Prosecutor Richard Anthony Fadullon opposed the Magdalo’s request for the suspension of the coup case ruling.

Fadullon said the court still has jurisdiction on the case and should maintain its independence on the case.

At the same time, Fadullon said they are perplexed by Trillanes’ stance, adding that the people have the right to know the facts and conclusion of the controversial case.

“If the accused actually believe that they are innocent, they will be interested to hear and read the facts which establish their innocence during the promulgation, without future speculation. If they are found guilty, the inchoate amnesty will absolve them anyway of this Honorable Court’s judgment,” they added.

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