Trillanes: Democracy lost today

Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV’s mug shot is taken at the Makati City Police Office, after Makati Regional Trial Court Branch 50 ordered his arrest on rebellion charges related to the 2003 Oakwood mutiny. He posted P200,000 bail and returned to the Senate right after.
(Photo courtesy of NCRPO)

THE Makati Regional Trial Court (RTC) on Tuesday, September 25, ordered the arrest of Senator Antonio Trillanes IV on revived charges against him for failed uprisings in 2003 and 2007.

Trillanes is the second opposition senator to be arrested under the Duterte presidency.

Judge Elmo Alameda of Makati RTC Branch 150 issued the arrest warrant 21 days after Duterte voided the former Navy officer’s 2011 amnesty and set the bail at P200,000.

“Democracy lost today. Officially, we have no democracy. This case goes beyond me,” Trillanes said as he left his Senate office to go with police officers and post bail at the Makati City Central Police Station. He was accompanied by fellow opposition senators Kiko Pangilinan, Paolo Benigno Aquino IV, and Risa Hontiveros; as well as his Magdalo party mates.

Respect warrant — Palace

According to Trillanes, his arrest was a clear example of the President harassing his critics — “the ones telling the truth who he could not face.”

“For all intents and purposes, darkness and evil prevailed in our country. So whatever happens next is in the hands of the Filipinos,” he said.

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque, for his part, told ANC, “That warrant of arrest is immediately executory and he should show respect for our court processes, voluntarily surrender and face the charges against him.”

“Whatever Senator Antonio Trillanes IV has to say can be addressed to the court. Let us stop the drama by presscon and allow the legal process to take its course,” he added.

Trillanes said he wanted to fulfill his promise that he would honor a warrant of arrest issued by a civilian court — “no matter how unjust that warrant may be,” he stressed — which is why he decided to go with the arresting team.

He claimed his arrest had nothing to do with anything except Duterte’s anger and vindictiveness.

In the past, Duterte had vowed to imprison Trillanes after the senator disclosed what he called secret bank accounts of the then mayor of Davao City that contained hundreds of millions of pesos in unexplained wealth during the 2016 presidential election campaign.

Trillanes also linked one of the president’s sons, Paolo Duterte, and his son-in-law, Manses Carpio, to drug smuggling from China and extortion last year.

Failed democracy

“They forced and twisted the law, which is why democracy and our institutions failed,” Trillanes said after he had debunked all the arguments that the Duterte administration had raised to justify the revoking of his amnesty.

Vice President Leni Robredo said Trillanes’ arrest was a sad development.

“We feel that dissent is important in a healthy democracy. We should give space for dissenting views,” she said.

“Blackeye for democracy,” was how Hontiveros described the arrest of Trillanes.

Aquino urged the Duterte administration to stop intimidating and attempting to scare its critics, while Sen. Grace Poe pointed out that if Trillanes’ amnesty could be questioned, all other amnesty grants would also be in peril.

“So how can there be trust?,” Poe asked.

House reactions

According to Magdalo Rep. Gary Alejano, Trillanes’ arrest was “an assault to the whole Philippine justice system.”

“With the issuance of the warrant of arrest against Senator Trillanes, the pretensions of the Duterte administration that we are still in a democracy has been removed. We are in a dictatorship now,” Alejano said.

Meanwhile, Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman said that instead of issuing a warrant of arrest, the lower court should have reported the results of its “fact-finding” to the Supreme Court, which is hearing Trillanes’ challenge to the legality of Proclamation 572.

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra, on the other hand, said the order to arrest Trillanes was significant. According to him, it showed “the court’s recognition that the rebellion case is still alive.”

The Makati RTC Branch 148 has recently been asked by the DOJ to reopen the coup d’état case and order the arrest of Trillanes.

“As it is, we are waiting for a miracle from Branch 148. We’re slightly more hopeful, but we have to expect the worst,” Trillanes said.

“You have to expect the worst because the enemy is the devil,” he added. 

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