MANILA-- The Makati City regional trial court has set the continuation of the trial of the criminal case against Senator Antonio Trillanes IV for his part in the 2007 Manila Peninsula siege.
In an order dated February 6, Judge Elmo Alameda of Branch 150 said "considering that there is no more legal hindrance such as TRO [temporary restraining order] or injunction that enjoins this court from continuing with the hearing of the case, the court hereby sets the continuation of the presentation of prosecution evidence on March 20, 2019".
The court has allowed Trillanes to post bail last September 25.
The case had been hampered by pending motions and efforts by the court to recover destroyed pages of the original court records, which had been included for disposal and destruction under the directive of the Supreme Court on disposed cases five years and older.
In an order dated Dec. 18, 2018 Alameda denied the motion for reconsideration filed by defense counsels, ruling that Trillanes failed to provide sufficient basis to reverse the earlier ruling of the Makati court.
Alameda reiterated that contrary to Trillanes' insistence, the so-called "best evidence" rule applies in the case.
The legal principle means that in case the contents of a document are part of a legal controversy, which in Trillanes' case was whether he filled up forms seeking amnesty, the original document would be the best evidence.
Last September, the Makati regional trial court issued an alias warrant of arrest and hold departure order against Trillanes in connection with his rebellion case and other Magdalo soldiers over the Manila Peninsula siege in 2007.
Alameda said the burden of proving compliance with the minimum requirements to be entitled to amnesty under Proclamation No. 75, which was issued by the previous administration, rests on Trillanes.
Trillanes, the judge said, failed to convince the court that he complied with the minimum requirement to personally fill-up and file the official amnesty application form as required in Section 5, 6, and 11 of Department of National Defense Amnesty Committee Circular dated Dec. 21, 2010.
The Makati court noted that Trillanes failed to present the original hard copy, a duplicate copy, or even a photocopy to substantiate his claim that he personally accomplished and filed his official amnesty application form.
The court also gave weight to the online news report published on Jan. 5, 2011 presented by the prosecution, which indicated that Trillanes failed to expressly admit his guilt for the crimes committed during the Oakwood Mutiny and Manila Peninsula siege. (PNA)
Photo by Angie de Silva/Rappler