Lacierda versus Roque|Two Malacanang spokesman clash on legality of amnesty granted to Trillanes. Guess who wins debate?

Was Voltaire Gazmin correct when he granted amnesty to then mutineer and now Senator Antonio Trillanes for his role in the Oakwood and Manila Peninsula mutinies?

Two Presidential spokespersons, one is former Pnoy spox, Edwin Lacierda and the other is the current Malacanang Spox, Harry Roque who have opposing views on the amnesty issue.

Former Pnoy spokesman Edwin Lacierda argued that former SND Voltaire Gazmin is authorized to process and approve Trillanes application based on proclamation 75 and the doctrine of qualified political agency.

Meanwhile, Malacanang Spokesman Harry Roque asserted that granting of amnesty is a presidential prerogative.

On that note, International relations expert and Netherlands-based Sass Rogando Sasot to referee the verbal tiff between the two presidential spokesman.

Sasot said Roque is correct that granting of amnesty is a presidential prerogative.

Please read full text of Sasot FB post on why Roque wins this latest episode of heated exchange between two spokesman.


Dear Edwin Lacierda,

First, if there’s a conflict between the Constitution and a Proclamation, even concurred by Congress, Constitution wins. The Constitution gave the President and him alone and not his cabinet secretaries the power to grant amnesty.

Then you said that the President’s alter egos, such as his cabinet members, can grant amnesty due to the doctrine of qualified political agency, which states that the acts of his alter egos are the acts of the president unless the latter disapproved them.

Mr Lacierda, as clearly explained in the 1992 Supreme Court decision on CITIZEN J. ANTONIO M. CARPIO, petitioner, vs. THE EXECUTIVE SECRETARY, THE SECRETARY OF LOCAL GOVERNMENTS, THE SECRETARY OF NATIONAL DEFENSE and THE NATIONAL TREASURER (see:…/juri19…/feb1992/gr_96409_1992.html)

The Doctrine of Qualified political agency does NOT apply “in cases where the Chief Executive is required by the Constitution or law to act in person on the exigencies of the situation demand that he act personally.”

The Constitution states that it is the President that has the power to grant Amnesty. Just like in the case of ratifying a treaty, our Consti requires the president to act in person when it comes to granting amnesty. He can’t delegate this task to his Defense Secretary. The Doctrine of Qualified Political Agency doesn’t apply here. Ergo, you are wrong.

Your thoughts?

Source: Sass Rogando Sasot

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