Trillanes' co-mutineer Faeldon says amnesty flawed, willing to go back to jail

Thursday September 13, 2018 ()

Office of Civil Defense (OCD) deputy administrator Nicanor Faeldon, a former rebel officer and co-leader of the Magdalo mutineers, admitted yesterday the amnesty certificates given him and Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV by former President Benigno Aquino were flawed.

At a chance interview after taking his oath as member of the ruling Partido Demokratiko Pilipino (PDP) at the Senate, Faeldon said he is willing to go back to jail if that is the consequence of the defective amnesty.

"I believe so," Faeldon replied when asked by reporters if there is something wrong with the amnesty granted to them during the Aquino administration, adding "after seeing the cards of both parties, it became clear to me that I think there is really a problem."

Nicanor Faeldon
(Nicanor Faeldon)

Faeldon said he is willing to go back to jail anytime if the amnesty granted to them is really flawed.

"If the process we have gone through is not in accordance with the Constitution…I am very much willing to go back to jail so that I can go through the process," Faeldon said.

"If we all agree that the act of pardon and amnesty is the act of the state, it cannot be delegated to another position other than the President," he added.

No less than President Rodrigo Duterte questioned the authority of former Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin for recommending and approving the amnesty to Magdalo members that included Trillanes.

The President issued Proclamation 572 specifically ordering the revocation of the amnesty granted to Trillanes.

Apart from the delegation of authority by Aquino, Faeldon also said that an affidavit of admission of guilt was required of them when they applied for amnesty.

Affidavit needed

"One of the requirements there is that you have to attach an affidavit admitting specifically identified offenses. So the affidavit of admission of guilt is an attachment," Faeldon said.

Trillanes, who is still taking refuge at the Senate to prevent arrest, has repeatedly stated that the application form already stated his guilt and has not presented any affidavit of admission of guilt which was among the issues raised in the proclamation.

"We all came up with our application forms but I do not know how many submitted that affidavit of admission of guilt and how many did not submit, I can only speak for myself," Faeldon stressed.

Faeldon and Trillanes are among the core leaders of the botched coup on 27 July 2003 at the posh Oakwood Apartments in Makati City.

Gazmin error as evidence

Gazmin having usurped the authority to grant amnesty, even if this was not included in the proclamation, can be used as evidence on the factual issues, according to a ranking justice department official.

On 31 August, President Rodrigo Duterte issued the proclamation that voided the amnesty of Trillanes which was given by former President Benigno Aquino.

The proclamation stated that Trillanes did not comply with the minimum requirement for the granting of the amnesty and it was not signed by Aquino but by former Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin.

"Cabinet secretaries are alter egos of the President and their acts are deemed legal and valid, unless countermanded by the President," the official said.

"More importantly, there are certain executive powers that by their very nature cannot be delegated and because the Constitution mandates that the President himself act in person, such as the grant of executive clemency," he added.

"In pardons, the President himself signs the grant of pardon. In other jurisdictions, it’s the king or the emperor. More so in the case of amnesty, which is so important that the concurrence of Congress is required. You cannot trivialize this process by delegating its approval to a mere alter ego," the official said.

Sources:

  • Faeldon: Amnesty flawed, Mario J. Mallari, September 13, 2018, Daily Tribune Headlines


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