FROM A DISTANCE - Carmen N. Pedrosa (The Philippine Star) - September 22, 2018 - 12:00am

I think it is time to tell Trillanes, sorry mate, but you are now in checkmate. As in chess, what else can he do? He has lost the game of his own making and run out of moves. You have run out of moves to protect yourself or your king – Noynoy Aquino.

You can’t say he did not try. His last gambit was to use the Senate tower but that too would not work. Duterte’s soldiers and knights moved in fast without entering the hall or his office. They can just wait until he comes out and accept finis to the game. The checkmate is there but like a bad sport he still thinks he can win. With what? As in chess when you are surrounded by the opponent’s forces and you (or the King) cannot move it is called a checkmater. At this point, Trillanes no longer needs for things to happen to win. It’s done.

In chess when you have reached a checkmate the players stand up and shake hands. They do not wait until the king is attacked by the opponent’s pieces. It is understood that if the king has no positions to go or protect itself the game is finished. This comes from the expression “the king is dead” once a checkmate has been reached.

The checkmate has been aggravated by the visit of a US embassy officer in his Senate office although Senator Antonio Trillanes IV has neither denied or confirmed the visit. But the visit seals the checkmate. The US embassy official was Josh Morris according to the logbook. He was in the Senate to visit “various senators.”

Using the Senate as his tower was just as futile no matter that Trillanes thought it could protect him. Up to a point. It did for a few days but it would not last long with all the other pieces moving to barricade the king.

According to sources, Morris claimed he also visited Senator Gregorio Honasan II and Senate President Vicente Sotto III, and said it was a courtesy call. Courtesy call for what? Is Trillanes such a high personage that a US embassy official should come to visit him? Morris is the US embassy’s internal political unit chief.

“I cannot confirm...I cannot confirm yung mga ganyang klaseng (that kind of) information. I will not confirm nor deny for that matter,” Trillanes told reporters.

When told that the embassy official was seen entering and exiting his office, Trillanes only said: “Well, siguro ganun na lang (let’s just leave it at that).”

Actually the game began when Trillanes stayed in his Senate office at the same time that it was known that there was a CIA assassination plot against Duterte. So it is not so strange if a US embassy official came to visit Trillanes. He has been in his Senate office since Sept. 4, President Rodrigo Duterte moved immediately early in the game with Proclamation 572 revoking Trillanes amnesty. It was found out that there could be no amnesty unless there was an application for amnesty. But the beleaguered senator could not produce one. In effect the amnesty was invalid from the start.

It looks like Trillanes plans to stay in the Senate until the Supreme Court decides on the legality of the proclamation. He presumes that a warrantless arrest would be made by the military. But the military do not have to do anything. All it has to is just wait it out. That’s what a checkmate is all about. Trillanes said he would surrender if an arrest warrant is issued by the courts.

The game began when Trillanes thought he would be protected by the strength of the Senate tower. Alas it is the Senate that has been dragged in by Trillanes. Not only will it not be able to protect him, there is a growing public demand that the Senate be abolished as a useless institution protecting an alleged criminal.. As it stands he has no way to go but out. In chess he was checkmated by the moves of Duterte’s knights and soldiers.

Senate President Tito Sotto had placed Trillanes under custody to prevent his possible arrest.

“That’s only drama. No one will really arrest him without a warrant of arrest,” Palace spokesman Harry Roque said, adding that he doesn’t think that there is any possibility of the senator being arrested any time soon which is as tragic if he were to just keep holed up in his office.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) insists that Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV has failed to submit his application and never admitted guilt. These are the requirements for him to be granted amnesty over his involvement in the 2003 Oakwood mutiny and the 2007 Manila Peninsula siege.

This was the reply of the DOJ with its pending motion for an arrest warrant and a hold departure order against Trillanes. The issuance of the arrest warrant and HDO was made before Branch 150 as well as Makati RTC Branch 148 after President Rodrigo Duterte issued Proclamation No. 572 which declared as “void ab initio,” meaning the amnesty was void from the start. The amnesty was made by former president Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino through Proclamation No. 75.

Branch 150 is handling the rebellion case concerning the Manila Peninsula siege, while, Branch 148 is handling the “coup d’etat” case relating to the Oakwood mutiny.

The DOJ said the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has issued a certification which showed “his failure to submit his application form for amnesty.”

It added: “Accused Trillanes was emphatic and adamantly refused to admit his guilt as evident in his pronouncements to the public and media.”

On the other hand, among the pieces of evidence presented by Trillanes to show he complied include a photograph from a national daily dated Jan. 5, 2011 which showed an application form he held and a video which showed that he admitted guilt in his participation in the Oakwood mutiny and the Manila Peninsula siege. That’s not evidence. Anyway, it was an exciting game using the metaphor of chess.

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