MANILA, Philippines – Opposition senator Antonio Trillanes IV would continue staying in his Senate office despite the statements of President Rodrigo Duterte and the Armed Forces of the Philippines ruling out a warrantless arrest for him.
For Trillanes, it was just Duterte's trap to lure him into going out of the chamber to arrest him. Citing supposed sources on the ground, Trillanes said the military still has a standing order to arrest him.
“Ang problema sa statement n'ya may deniability kaya vinalidate natin doon sa ground, sa operating units, at meron pa rin eh (The problem with his statement is that he has deniability, that's why we validated it with people on the ground, the operating units, and there is still an arrest order). Ang sakin dito (For me), he's just trying to trick me to into that trap. But I won't fall for that and remember ito si Duterte he's notorious for lying to the public,” Trillanes told reporters in a press conference on Monday, September 10.
“May order pa rin kasi sa kanila to arrest me (There is still an order to arrest me)... This is just another lie,” he said.
Senate as refuge: Trillanes has been staying in his Senate office since Tuesday, September 4, following the publishing of Proclamation No. 572 in the Manila Times. The Senate leadership, and with the agreement of other senators, allowed him to stay inside the premises as he exhausts legal remedies. (LOOK: Inside Trillanes' 'home' in the Senate)
The senator filed a petition with the Supreme Court questioning Duterte's "unconstitutional" order and seeking a temporary restraining order. The SC en banc, which is set to meet Tuesday, has yet to decide on the petition.
According to Trillanes, Senate leaders have not yet asked him to leave the promises amid an earlier misunderstanding. (READ: Sotto to minority senators: Don’t abuse Senate leadership's 'hospitality')
Conflicting statements: Duterte revoked the amnesty granted to Trillanes by former president Benigno Aquino III, citing the senator's supposed failure to apply for amnesty and to admit his guilt. Documents obtained by Rappler, however, show Trillanes complied with both. (READ: TIMELINE: Gov't gaps, retractions in voiding Trillanes amnesty)
Duterte initially ordered the AFP and the Philippine National Police to arrest Trillanes despite the senator's civilian status since 2007, 4 years before he was granted amnesty. The DND and the Department of Justice (DOJ) had said the military has jurisdiction over Trillanes.
Duterte and the military, however, later changed their tune and said they would now wait for the decision of the civilian courts. The DOJ also sought arrest warrants for Trillanes from two Makati courts, but failed to get an immediate decision. (READ: TIMELINE: Gov't gaps, retractions in voiding Trillanes amnesty) (LOOK: Inside Trillanes' 'home' in the Senate) – Rappler.com
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Camille Elemia is Rappler's lead reporter for media, disinformation, and democracy. She won an ILO award in 2017. She received the prestigious Fulbright-Hubert Humphrey fellowship in 2019, allowing her to further study media and politics in the US. Email firstname.lastname@example.org