Trillanes: I will 'surrender' if arrest warrant issued
MANILA, Philippines – Opposition Senator Antonio Trillanes IV vowed to surrender if a court issues an arrest warrant against him.
In a Rappler Talk interview on Friday, September 14, Trillanes was asked: "Will you surrender like what Senator Leila de Lima did or magpapahabol ka sa kanila (will you let authorities run after you)?"
"No, I will surrender, submit myself. I decided to submit myself to the judicial process and whichever way it goes, 'yun na 'yun (that's it)," Trillanes said.
"But as I mentioned, this episode of mine is not about my personal freedom, but actually this is the ultimate battle for our democracy because what started this was a proclamation of Duterte to have me arrested despite the fact I did not commit any crime, precisely because I availed of the amnesty," the senator added, as he reiterated that all his crimes were "extinguished" upon the grant of amnesty in 2011.
As far as he's concerned, the case is more than a fight for his own freedom, as he linked it to the fight for democracy.
"So here comes Duterte on his mere say-so, he's ordering the Armed Forces, security forces to put me in jail. So if we allow that, if the courts will allow that, then I believe our democracy is over. So this is about that," Trillanes said.
Duterte issued Proclamation No. 572, ordering the revocation of the amnesty granted to Trillanes by former president Benigno Aquino III in 2011.
Duterte also initially ordered the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police to immediately arrest the senator even without a warrant. They, however, later changed their tune and said they would submit to civilian courts.
Trust in Makati judges?
Trillanes has been holed up in his Senate office for over a week now, wary of a warrantless arrest by the military despite assurance from Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana. Two Makati City Regional Trial Court (RTC) branches have yet to act on the Department of Justice's motions for an arrest warrant.
Asked to comment about the two Makati City RTC judges handling the motions, Trillanes said, "I'm working on the assumption [that] they're judges because they attained certain levels of competence and integrity, so that's the assumption now."
Trillanes also seemingly challenged Judge Andres Soriano and Judge Elmo Alameda of Makati City RTC branches 148 and 150.
"This is the test. They can show to the whole world that the Philippine judicial system is still working despite having a president like Duterte, or they could show that Duterte has control over everything. So the answer to that question is in [their] hands," said the senator.
Trillanes earlier questioned Duterte's proclamation before the Supreme Court (SC), but his request for a temporary restraining order was denied. The issue of the proclamation's legality, however, remains pending before the SC. – Rappler.com