Circumspect review of the Trillanes case - Sec. De Lima

19 July 2010

Justice Secretary Leila M. De Lima said today that she has begun reviewing the records of the coup d��tat case against Senator Antonio Trillanes IV pursuant to the directive of President Benigno C. Aquino III for the Department of Justice to thoroughly review it. It will be recalled that in an interview on Friday (16 July 2010), President Aquino expressed his opinion that the coup d��tat charge brought against Senator Trillanes may need some looking into.

�We abide by the directive of the President,� De Lima said. �I am reviewing the records of the case and have consulted our prosecutors, especially those handling it before the court. The Department of Justice will submit its recommendation to the President after making a thorough review of the case. The President expects nothing less than a thorough review,� De Lima added.

The coup d��tat charge against Senator Trillanes was brought about by the seizure of the Oakwood Hotel by a group of soldiers led by then Navy Lt. (SG) Trillanes in July 2003. The Department of Justice filed a case for coup d��tat against Trillanes and 30 other soldiers. Both the prosecution and defense have rested their case before the Regional Trial Court, Branch 148, Makati City. They are due to submit their respective memoranda within thirty (30) days from receipt of the RTC�s July 12, 2010 Order.

�I understand that the case will soon be deemed submitted for the court�s decision, upon the filing of the required memoranda by both the prosecution and the defense. At this stage, the options for the prosecution may be limited. And the courts have absolute discretion in the disposal of a case once it has acquired jurisdiction over it,� the Secretary said.

�On the other hand, the President has the absolute prerogative to direct the Secretary of Justice, as an alter ego, to review the case against Senator Trillanes. It is in consonance with his oath to do justice to every man. That is also part of the thrust and mission of the new DOJ,� Secretary De Lima added.

�I will, however, exercise care and circumspection under the circumstances, given the independence of the judiciary,� Secretary De Lima further added.

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