Press Release
September 4, 2018

Transcript of Interview with Senate Minority Leader Franklin M. Drilon

04 September 2018

Drilon: He (Senator Trillanes) is a senator and under the Constitution, he cannot be arrested while Congress is in session, except for crimes for which penalty is beyond six years. In this particular case, there is even no case. There is no case, with more reason that constitutional protection will apply. As a practical remedy, we have requested the Senate President that the Senate takes custody of Senator Trillanes, pending his ability or his remedies in our regular courts.

Q: It is easy to convince Senate President Sotto?

Drilon: In fairness with Senate President Sotto, even we came in he had already directed the sergeant-at-arms not to allow the arresting officers to come to Senate the premises. Unang-una, walang basehan; pangalawa, walang warrant of arrest. Ito po ay basic. Pangatlo, he availed of the amnesty. The fact , the basis and the correctness of the amnestu was already ruled upon by the Regional Trial Court when it dismissed the cases against him on the basis of the amnesty. All questions were ruled upon by the court when it dismissed the case. So there is no case today.

If they want o file another case, first, they must go to court and file another case, and execute a warrant, if warranted. But more importantly at that point, mayroon na pong double jeopardy. Hindi na pwedeng sampahan ng kaso si Sen. Trillanes. That's a legal position which is founded on facts.

Q: May aasahan pa ba kayo sa Korte Suprema?

Drilon: We don't want to pass judgment...We will avail of the legal remedies. We still believe in the rule of law.

Q: May pag-abuso ba sa pag-exercise ng power ng executive?

Drilon: That's what we are arguing for: to resist and to make sure that that executive, particularly in this case, is still within the bounds of its powers.

Q: Paano yung custody if on recess na ang session?

Drilon: It does not depend on the session. The custody is defined yb the boundaries of the building. The custody is when you voluntarily submit to the custody of another person. Certainly, the Senate President did not arrest Senator Trillanes. The Senate President and the Senate will uphold the dignity of the Senate. We have to protect the institution by resisting any unwarranted and unlawful acts against a member of the Senate.

Q: Justice Guevarra had expressed a contrary view...

Drilon: I'm sorry but we strongly believe that the amnesty is valid; number two, the validity of the application of Senator Trillanes was already ruled upon by the court when the court dismissed the rebellion and coup d etat case against Sen. Trillanes on the basis of the amnesty. If the amnesty application was not valid, then the case should not have been dismissed. When the cases were dismissed, that's a recognition of the validity of the application. So there is no question that the alleged non-submission of the application is an issue that was already ruled upon and academic, because, in fact, the amnesty was granted. It's a closed case.

Q: Can you revoke an amnesty without a congressional action?

Drilon: The issue of whether or not the President can revoke the amnesty without Congress' concurrence is not an issue here. What is an issue here is, if the amnesty was validly availed of Senator Trillanes, and the court ruled upon the validity of the amnesty application. We can imagine if you're saying that an amnesty can be revoked. In an amnesty, you precisely avail of the amnesty because, in effect, you admit that you committed an offense. Now after agreeing to avail of the amnesty and in effect, you admitted guilt, then you revoke the amnesty and use the admission against the applicant. By any fair rule of justice that is not (done).

Q: So, Sir, yung amnesty hindi pwedeng bawiin?

Drilon: Hindi pwedeng bawiin. That is a completed act.

Q: Regardless of who is the sitting President?

Drilon: Yes.

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