Robredo: Opposition coalition stands with Trillanes

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines (UPDATED) – Vice President Leni Robredo said the opposition coalition is backing Senator Antonio Trillanes in his fight against President Rodrigo Duterte's bid to revoke his amnesty.

Nakikiisa kami sa kanya. Kami po, basta sa tama, parati tayong nakikiisa, at gagawin natin ang lahat para hindi patuloy ang ganitong uri ng pagpapahirap para lang isilensyo ang ating mga gustong sabihin,” said Robredo in an ambush interview in Zamboanga City on Wednesday, September 5.

(We are one with him. We will show our support as long as it is the right thing to do and we will do everything to stop this kind of suppression from happening.)

Robredo once again condemned Duterte’s "persecution" of one of his toughest critics. (READ: Robredo: Trillanes amnesty revocation proves admin out to silence critics

The Vice President, the leader of the opposition, said their coalition met with Trillanes on Tuesday, September 4, the same day Duterte’s Proclamation No. 572 against the opposition senator was published in the Manila Times advertisements section.

Robredo said it was during this meeting that Trillanes himself found out that Duterte revoked his amnesty and wanted him back in jail for alleged failure to file his amnesty application. Trillanes had debunked the President’s claim. (READ: 'Nothing political' in Trillanes amnesty revocation, says Malacañang)

Nag-attend po ako ng coalition meeting, katabi ko po si Senator Trillanes noong natanggap niya iyong balita na ni-revoke iyong kaniyang amnesty. Ito po, sinabi namin kay Senator Trillanes na alam namin na hindi ito tama,” said Robredo. 

(I attended the coalition meeting and I was seated beside Senator Trillanes when he received the news that his amnesty was revoked. We told Senator Trillanes that we know this is not right.) 

The Vice President already said the amnesty revocation proves Duterte was bent on silencing his critics. Senator Leila de Lima, another fierce critic of Duterte, has been in detention for over a year for multiple drug charges.

Hindi po tama na parang pinapatay iyong lahat na pagsasalungat. Hindi tama na sinisilensyo iyong mga boses. Kasi kaya tayo sumasalungat, hindi para sa ano pa man, pero sumasalungat tayo para baguhin iyong maling gawain,” said Robredo. 

(It's wrong that they seem to be killing all dissent. It’s not right to silence these voices. The reason we're opposing – not for anything – but we're opposing to correct wrongdoing.)

Media's role

Senator Paolo Benigno "Bam"Aquino IV, who was with Robredo, called on Duterte to sack those behind the proclamation voiding reiterated that Proclamation 572 had no basis.

"'Yung proklamasyon palpak. Ang sabi walang application form, kitang-kita po sa media may mga videos po na pinakita, meron application form. Sabi hindi raw nanumpa, kitang-kita po sa video, nanumpa. Mabuti nga po salamat po sa media huling-huli po ninyo 'yung mga panahong 'yan," Aquino said.

(The proclamation is faulty. They said there's no application form, it's very clear in media reports, and there are videos too, that there is an application from. They said he did not take his oath, it's very clear in the video that he did. Thank you, media, you really captured what happened then.)

Robredo and Aquino were in Zamboanga City to hold a dialogue with residents and businessmen on the rice shortage problem that had prompted the city government to declare a state of calamity.

In October 2010, then-President Benigno Aquino III signed Proclamation 50, granting amnesty to those involved in the 2003 Oakwood mutiny and the 2007 Manila Peninsula siege against the administration of then-president and now Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

Aquino later issued Proclamation 75 in November 2010, superseding Proclamation 50, and was concurred in by both chambers of Congress. Trillanes applied for amnesty in January 2011, and was granted amnesty, along with other officers and soldiers, that same month.

Trillanes had said he would not evade arrest. He remained in the Senate for now as his lawyers explored legal remedies to oppose Proclamation 572.

The Makati Regional Trial Court Branch 148 on Wednesday issued an order giving Trillanes 5 days to file his comment to the motion of the Department of Justice requesting an arrest warrant against him. The court will hear the DOJ's motion on September 13. – with Richard Falcatan/Rappler.com

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Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda writes about politics and women’s rights for Rappler. She covers the House of Representatives and the Office of the Vice President. Got tips? Send her an email at mara.cepeda@rappler.com or shoot her a tweet @maracepeda.

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