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How to Unlock Approval Process

I have a custom Expense object and we implemented approval process on the object. We also implement an escalation approval if the approver didn't response within 1 day. The problem is when our 'trigger after insert or update' try to update/assign the next actorID, it throw an error 'Insufficient priviledge'.


I found out that the problem is because the record is LOCKED during our initial submission. Eventhough I manually unlock it, when the next approver response, it will back to LOCKED.


What would be the workaround to UNLOCKED all approval request? I know that administrator can unlock this, but we don't want to give administrator permission to all submitter.