Trillanes: Supreme Court TRO will give military a 'way out'

MANILA, Philippines – In the heat of speculations that the military was going to arrest him without warrant, Senator Antonio Trillanes IV said on Friday, September 7, that a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) from the Supreme Court (SC) would be the military’s “way out.”

“A TRO would give them a way out, face-saving measure, sasabihin nila ano, hindi naman sila umatras, ito ang way out nila diyan sa kapalpakan na ito (they can say they didn't back down, it would be their way out of this mess),” Trillanes said Friday morning, after a sleepless Thursday night that saw even supporters wait outside the Senate gate since 12 am.

This, Trillanes said, is the best way to ease the tension triggered by a “pushback” from within the military that is spoiling President Rodrigo Duterte’s plans to arrest him even without a court-issued warrant. (READ: Sotto: Military can’t enter Senate in case of court martial arrest)

“But there is no crack in the establishment, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is united, they may be conflicted about this particular issue but it doesn’t mean there are factions, they will follow their chain of command, they are loyal to their constitutional mandate,” a visibly exhausted Trillanes said.

Trillanes has filed a petition asking the SC to nullify the presidential proclamation that voided his amnesty. They are also set to file a motion for a special raffle which can speed up proceedings on their urgent request for a TRO.

Duterte’s Proclamation No. 572 directs both the army and police to apprehend Trillanes. This was later reiterated by Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra, who even supported the defense department’s statement that a court martial can order Trillanes’ arrest.

Top brass

AFP Chief of Staff General Carlito Galvez and Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana are with Duterte in Jordan. Both have not issued statements since the proclamation was published on September 5.

Trillanes said active members of the military have expressed their support for him, and even provide him “critical information and even some documents.” Asked how close his informants are to the military top brass, Trillanes said “I cannot give that away.”

Trillanes said he does not plan to reach out to Galvez and Lorenzana.

“I respect them enough that I don’t need to communicate with them directly. Alam kong alam nila kung ano ang ligal at hindi ligal (I know that they know what is legal from illegal),” Trillanes said.

Trillanes clarified that the pushback doesn’t mean it’s the kind of discontent that it will lead to “a breakaway” or “extraconstitutional action.”

Trillanes said he wouldn’t want soldiers to do something drastic either. (READ: Where does the military stand with Duterte?)

"I would be the last person who would want anybody to be hurt para sa kapakanan ko (just for my sake). Dapat ako ang unang nasasaktan (I should be the first one hurt),” he said.

Trillanes said that his bags have been packed in the event that he is arrested, and that he has prepared his wife and two children for it.

“Nothing has changed, kailangan lang mag-focus sila sa pag-aaral nila, magdasal, 7 years akong nakulong, merong parang, hindi naman nakasanayan, pero hindi na bago sa kanila,” he said.

(Nothing has changed, they just need to focus on their studies and pray. I was in jail for 7 years, I wouldn't say they are used to it, but this is not new to them.) 

Trillanes was jailed for coup and rebellion charges over the 2003 Oakwood Mutiny, until he was given amnesty in 2011, the validity of which was voided by Duterte on the basis of a missing application form. – Rappler.com

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Lian Buan

Lian Buan covers justice and corruption for Rappler. She is interested in decisions, pleadings, audits, contracts, and other documents that establish a trail. If you have leads, email lian.buan@rappler.com or tweet @lianbuan.

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