Trillanes: No arrest order another lie
Trillanes said he does not trust the pronouncements coming from Malacañang, which President Duterte himself reiterated yesterday during a press briefing upon his arrival from Jordan.
KJ Rosales
Trillanes: No arrest order another lie
Marvin Sy (The Philippine Star) - September 9, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV yesterday said he has no intention to leave the Senate at this time in spite of assurances from Malacañang that he will not be arrested.

Trillanes said he does not trust the pronouncements coming from Malacañang, which President Duterte himself reiterated yesterday during a press briefing upon his arrival from Jordan.

“Through our contacts from the Armed Forces, there is still a standing order to arrest me so that’s another lie. So unless and until that order is relayed to the operating units, that has no bearing,” he said.

Trillanes, who has been staying at his office at the Senate since Tuesday, said it would be easy for the military and police waiting for him to step out of the Senate to arrest him.

He said the President was only joking when he said he would not be arrested.

Trillanes has refused to recognize the legality and validity of Proclamation 572 issued by Duterte revoking the amnesty granted to him by the previous administration and ordering his arrest.

Trillanes maintained the arrest order was not valid. He said he would only surrender if the court issues a warrant for his arrest.

In deciding to remain within the protective custody of the Senate, Trillanes said that by surrendering now, his efforts to question the validity of Proclamation 572 would be adversely affected.

Trillanes said he would also be deprived of the ability to continue speaking out against the President and his dictatorial ways.

Vice President Leni Robredo welcomed Duterte’s order to the Armed Forces of the Philippines not to arrest Trillanes without a warrant.

“For me it’s the right thing to do instead of insisting on a warrantless search, warrantless arrest, which is baseless,” Robredo said.

“We thank them for saying that they will adhere to the rule of law,” said Robredo, a lawyer by profession.

At his press briefing yesterday, the President said the amnesty granted to Trillanes was fatally flawed because it was approved by former defense secretary Voltaire Gazmin, whom he accused of usurpation of authority.

Trillanes said he was “shocked” by the statement of the President, who he said did not understand the process for granting amnesty and the law even though he is a lawyer.

He said then president Benigno Aquino III, who granted the amnesty by issuing Proclamation 75, and Gazmin’s action to process the amnesty applications filed by him and his fellow Magdalo group members was all part of the normal procedure under the law. 

Edwin Lacierda, who served as spokesman for Aquino, maintained politics was behind the revocation of the amnesty granted to Trillanes.

“Of all the number of Magdalo officials, officers and men, rank and file, who filed for the application, how is it that it’s only Trillanes that you’re going after?” Lacierda said in an interview with “The Chiefs” on One News.

He noted Trillanes is one of the most vocal critics of the administration.

“You cannot say that there’s no politics here,” Lacierda said.

Trillanes reiterated that he complied with all of the requirements for the grant of amnesty, which includes completing the application form, admitting guilt to the crimes he committed and going through the process set by the DND.

He pointed out the application form was sufficiently completed, processed and upon seeing that this was sufficient, was recommended by the DND ad hoc committee headed by Gazmin to approve his amnesty application.

“You can see here that they are covering up for all the loopholes (in the proclamation) that (Solicitor General Jose) Calida came up with,” Trillanes said.

In using the certification of Lt. Col. Thea Joan Andrade that there was no available copy of Trillanes’ application for amnesty on record a day before Proclamation 572 was issued, the opposition senator said it showed just how “hastily and sloppily this was done by these people.”

“Did that Lt. Col. have any authority to sign it? Was (Defense) Secretary (Delfin) Lorenzana aware of this? Was the (Armed Forces) Chief of Staff aware of this? They went directly (to Andrade). Somebody violated the chain of command by doing this,” Trillanes pointed out.

“It appears that he (Duterte) is not only an evil person, but also stupid,” he added.

The President also said that it was his prerogative to nullify the amnesty of Trillanes, which the senator said was unconstitutional.

“That is not in the Constitution. The Constitution only provides for the grant (of amnesty). This guy is amazingly stupid. Sorry for the word, but it is really coming out and he can’t hide it,” Trillanes said.

“Do your worst, Mr. Duterte. At least with what he is doing now, we can see there are no more pretentions. My claims in the past two years are being validated. His true nature is coming out and he just wants to turn us into a dictatorship,” he added.

 

Battle on all fronts

 

While Trillanes is fighting his legal battle against Proclamation 572, the family and allies of the President have also stepped up by pursuing other cases against him.

These include another libel case filed by Duterte’s son Paolo and the plan of Labor undersecretary Jacinto Paras to file charges of inciting to sedition or inciting to coup d’etat.

Trillanes said he is not bothered by these cases against him because he was used to this already.

He recalled how, during the presidency of now Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, he faced around 12 cases filed against him.

“I’m not bothered at all. You do your worst, I will not be cowed. Sorry, but that’s just how it is,” Trillanes said.

“I believe they are in a quandary over what to do with me. They should treat this as a problem and I hope he gets as much stress as possible thinking about it because I will always be here, Mr. Duterte,” he added.

The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) issued a statement branding the revocation of the amnesty grant to Trillanes as an abuse of power by Duterte.

The CPP said Duterte has trampled on the legal processes of his own government. 

“His assault against Trillanes satisfies his desire for vengeance, as well as that of Gloria Arroyo’s. By ordering the AFP to carry out his order, he has virtually transformed the AFP as his own private army. In doing so, however, he has fomented further dissent and divisions among key military and police officials,” the CPP said.

Trillanes has asked the Supreme Court to issue a temporary restraining order against his arrest by the military and the police based on the President’s directive under Proclamation 572. The case has been assigned to Associate Justice Diosdado Peralta.

According to Trillanes, this is the opportunity for the Supreme Court to prove that they are independent and they are concerned about the institutions of the country.

“They (justices) can show that they have no loyalty to Mr. Duterte and that they will decide on this case based on the merits,” Trillanes said.

Asked if he would end up in jail now that Duterte has stated that he should be incarcerated, Trillanes said he is confident he has a strong case and that Proclamation 572 would be declared null and void. –Helen Flores, Jose Rodel Clapano

ANTONIO TRILLANES IV
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