MANILA, Philippines – "If I can add as much stress sa kanila (to them), then well and good."
This was the message of opposition Senator Antonio Trillanes IV to his critics.
"Just enjoy the show, right? Kumbaga if manggigil sila, mainis sila (If they get angry or annoyed), then I have partly achieved the objective," Trillanes added in jest, in a Rappler Talk interview on Friday, September 14.
But turning somber, the senator said he is using the platform he has to "fight" for something bigger.
"To be serious about it, I'm using this platform to convey to the people the true story of our fight for freedom, justice, and democracy," he said.
Some allies and supporters of President Rodrigo Duterte have criticized Trillanes for his alleged media antics and publicity stunts, following Duterte's order to revoke the senator's amnesty.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque slammed Trillanes for insisting on staying inside the Senate, saying it is all for "political mileage."
Trillanes has been holed up in his Senate office since September 4, following the publication of Duterte's Proclamation No. 572, which also orders the military and the police to arrest the senator even without a warrant. (READ: PNP: Nobody in 'right mind' would arrest Trillanes without court warrant)
"OA po 'yan. Uwi na kayo dahil hindi naman tama na taong bayan ho ang nagbabayad ng inyong board and lodging diyan sa Senado (That's overacting. Go home because it isn't appropriate that the public pays for your board and lodging at the Senate)," Roque said on Wednesday, September 12.
Milking the issue?
In response, Trillanes told Rappler that Roque may have been right that he is indeed "milking" the issue – but, the senator claimed, not for his personal gain.
"Well, they're probably right in the first part that I'm trying to milk this episode. But not for my benefit, but for the benefit of democracy and our institutions," Trillanes said.
The opposition senator vowed to continue fighting Duterte and his administration, saying only death or "isolation from the rest of the world" would stop him.
"I will continue to do that because if I win in this episode, then our democracy won in essence. Because this is going to be the first instance wherein the institutions pushed back against the will and authority of Mr Duterte and actually won. So that's why there's so much at stake here," Trillanes said.
No arrest warrants have been issued against Trillanes so far, as two Makati City Regional Trial Court branches are still hearing the Department of Justice's motions for arrest warrants against the senator. (READ: Trillanes: I will 'surrender' if arrest warrant issued) – Rappler.com