ON THE REVOCATION OF AMNESTY

President Rodrigo Duterte has revoked the grant of amnesty to Senator Antonio Trillanes IV.  This, on the basis accordingly for failure to comply with its minimum requirements, Malacanang said.

Is this real?  Can someone explain if it is possible for a person to vomit something which his neighbor earlier ate?  Just because the neighbor haphazardly grabbed and immediately swallowed without even tasting the morsel the person next to him must suffer by regurgitating?  Is that logical?

Even Justice Secretary MenardoGuevarra in an interview claimed that he never knew of any instance in the past when amnesty granted has been revoked by another authority in a different period.   It is logical if the authority who granted amnesty would recall and eventually revoke what was issued.  But for another authority, not the one who issued but was just pissed off because the person granted is perceptibly incorrigible, to rescind is way beyond the power already.

Antonio Trillanes, for all his braggadocio as a youthful soldier, still smarting from the idealism of the military academy, went overboardsome time ago, combat hardware and armed soldiers in tow declaring government as the fountainhead of corruption.  He and his group wanted the Presidency (then under President, now Speaker, Gloria Arroyo) to reckon the gross and large scale corruption obtaining in the armed forces.  There was an eye-for-an-eye situation but Trillanes group blinked and they were taken in; this after a prolonged, suspenseful period of negotiation.

He was tried and eventually incarcerated.  Notwithstanding his status, he entered into the political fray and was handily elected Senator.  He performed his elected post while serving time in the custodial center of AFP.

Trillanes may have angered his political foes to the extent that bad blood has been formed.  It is no longer anger that determines his presence in the face of issues he would attribute to his nemesis but hatred.  If at all he is arrested for something, call it even as invented causes, he had it coming.  He was courting disaster by virtually dancing on a street even if he claims to be doing it on the safe side of the pedestrian lane.

A number of legal luminaries came in with their position.  Former Solicitor Florin Hilbaysaid that “Once the amnesty is given and accepted, succeeding administrations such as the present administration can no longer nullify that without any court judgment.”

Legal and governance expert Tony La Viña held the same view, saying no incumbent could reverse the previous administration’s grant of amnesty, a political act.

But of course, unless the court or the Supreme Court would rule on the controversy, no matter how reasonable the arguments and counter-arguments are, the submissions remain as mere opinion only.  Unless challenged for its legal form and substance, Senator Trillanes is at the mercy of the powers that be.

The Presidency is a powerful portal but it could also be the weakest depending on who is occupying it.  Our Presidency is patterned after the presidency of USA.  And while it commands vast powers, it can be checked and even admonished when it exceeds its capacity as defined by the Constitution.

There is a legal doctrine for heads of agencies on the matter of exercising their power.  They have the power to hire and fire.  Similarly, the Chief Executive has even an awesome power; he can issue an order for absolute pardon, he can therefore equally issue also an unqualified warrant of arrest.  The Presidency is one of the competent authorities who can expunge a person’s negative record more powerful than other separate branch of government or order the detention of anyone in his estimation a vexation of governance.

The President could just order the arrest of anyone, be that person a Senator or pedestrian, without ifs and buts, without even extrapolating reason as explanation.  It is an exercise of his inherent power as leader.

It is called political will.

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