The debate on the issue of Trillanes’ amnesty continue to make waves on social media.
In fact, former Malacanang spokesman Lacierda and current Malacanang spox Roque traded barbs and insults on the issue of amnesty.
The likes of Lacierda and other anti-Duterte personalities raised several points why they opposed President Duterte’s proclamation declaring Trillanes’ amnesty null and void.
First, amnesty once granted cannot be revoked. Second, only the Courts can revoke an amnesty, Third, revocation amnesty granted to individual needs concurrence of Congress.
However, legal expert using the pseudonym Al OX destroyed the arguments of the opposition’s legal experts in a Facebook post hailed by La Salle professor Antonio Contreras as “brilliant” piece of writing.
Another brilliance from Al Ox.
Statements of Legal Experts
Statement no. 1 – Amnesty once granted cannot be revoked. Once a grantee of amnesty is given a certificate of amnesty, it cannot be revoked anymore.
But what if the grantee expressly stated, at the time he was granted the amnesty, that he DOES NOT ADMIT the crimes covered by the amnesty?
What if the grantee was still really defiant against the government and he still believes he was absolutely justified in committing coup d etat and rebellion?
What if he was continuing the rebellion secretly?
Is the theory still correct that once he was given a certification of amnesty, the State cannot revoke it anymore? Remember in Proclamation No. 572 it was stated that the grantee made such statements. Is there any denial under oath from the grantee?
Thus, the individual determination to grant amnesty to a grantee, who is not entitled to amnesty, should always be revocable for the State’s protection. What is not revocable is the general proclamation of amnesty but the determination of whether an applicant or grantee was not entitled to the amnesty should always be open to question.
To opine otherwise could lead to a situation where there was mistake or worse, fraud in processing applications for amnesty and the grantee will benefit from such mistake or fraud and remain a fraudulent grantee of amnesty. No one should be above the law.
Remember rebellion is a continuing crime when a grantee remains defiant against a government, the State has a right to revoke or withdraw the grant of amnesty as to his person.
Statement 2 – only the Courts can revoke an amnesty.
Actually, it is admission that grants of amnesty can still be questioned.
Nevertheless, are they saying that courts can delve into questions that are really political questions or decisions?
The decision who is entitled to the grant of amnesty is clearly the prerogative of the President. A purely political power granted by Constitution.
Now, can the courts inquire on whether or not the amnesty proclamation was properly implemented? Can the courts determine whether a grantee was really entitled to the amnesty?
In the example above can someone go to court and question the grant of amnesty to someone who expressly remained defiant and declared that he does not admit to any of the crimes covered by the amnesty?
Wouldn’t the grantee offer as his defense that the courts cannot question his grant of amnesty because the decision is purely a politicsl question? He will say only the President has the power to determine whether a grantee is entitled or not.
Thus, a grantee who was illegally granted an amnesty could remain scott free.
Is that justice?
So we can be at the mercy of criminals who have shown no remorse.
Since the court’s jurisdiction can be questioned, shouldn’t the authority to decide who entitled to amnesty be left with person who was granted such power by the Constitution?
Statement 3 – revocation of the grant of amnesty as to an individual should be with the concurrence of Congress.
Again, an admission that amnesty can still be revoked.
What was given concurrence by Congres was the general proclamation of the President and not the individual determination of who is entitled to the amnesty.
There was a general proclamation that those guilty of coup d etat and rebellion who applied therefor are to be granted amnesty. There was a general grant but there was a requirement to apply and state that you are guilty of such crimes.
Congress gave its concurrence to the general grant of amnesty.
The determination who was entitled be a grantee was left to the President.
Congress does not have the power to decide who among the applicants are to given their individual grant of amnesty.
It was the President who was given that power.
When a grantee was determined to be entitled to the amnesty, THERE WAS NO CONCURRENCE OR DETERMINATION OR DECISION NEEDED FROM CONGRESS. It was only the President who is suppose to decide on whether the grantee is entitled or not.
If there was no concurrence of Congress on the decision to individually determine the entitlement of a grantee, why is there a need for concurrence of Congress in revoking the same?
There is no revocation of the whole proclamation but only a revocation of the individual determination of entitlement to the grant of amnesty.
There was mistake or fraud in the grant of the individual determination or entitlement to the amnesty. It was decided only by the President, so he should be able to revoke it without need of concurrence from Congress.