Get to know the top veteran lawyers who volunteered to defend Trillanes

September 13, 2018 - 3:36 PM
Sen. Antonio Trillanes has tapped some big names in the legal profession as he heads to court. (Artwork by Uela Altar Badayos/Photos from UNTV, Chan Robles Consulting website and Sen. Leila de Lima Official Facebook page)

Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV is tapping some big names in the legal field to contest the nullification of the amnesty granted to him.

Trillanes announced that veteran lawyers Pacifico Agabin, Florin Hilbay and Joselito Chan will be joining chief counsel Reynaldo Robles on his legal team.

The lawmaker said that the members of his team all “volunteered” to argue against President Rodrigo Duterte’s Proclamation 572.

“I have talked to some of the best legal minds in the country who are willing to stand for the rule of law,” Trillanes reportedly said.

“They believe that if this illegal act would not be corrected, our country’s democracy would be in peril,” he added.

Big-time legal team

Agabin is a former dean of the University of Philippines College of Law who specializes in constitutional law. He was one of the 130 law deans and professors who denounced the quo warranto petition that ousted former chief justice Maria Lourdes Sereno.

Hilbay, another vocal critic of the administration, was a former solicitor general during the presidency of Benigno Aquino III, who granted amnesty to Trillanes in 2011.

The UP Law graduate topped the 1999 bar exam, tied with tourism undersecretary Edwin Enrile.

He had been openly critical of Duterte’s nullification of the amnesty granted to Trillanes.

Chan, also a law professor, along with lead counsel Robles are the managing partner and senior partner of the Chan Robles & Associates Law Office, a well-regarded law firm that also provides a corporate consultancy service, online legal database and bar exam review program.

Those critical of Duterte’s proclamation are confident in Trillanes’ choices.

The Supreme Court recently denied Trillanes’ prayer for a temporary restraining order on the orders in Proclamation 572 directing the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police to arrest him.

The high court ruled that the facts relevant to the issue of the legality of Proclamation 572 should be heard on the trial court level, reiterating that the Supreme Court is not a trier of facts.

The Department of Justice had filed motions for the issuance of an arrest warrant and travel ban before two separate trial court branches in Makati.

A hearing on Trillanes’ 2003 Oakwood Mutiny will be handled by Makati RTC Branch 148 while a hearing on the 2007 Manila Peninsula Siege will be handled by Makati RTC Branch 150.

Malacañang said that Duterte will wait for the trial courts to issue the arrest warrant before proceeding with any further action.