Trillanes on his arrest: ‘Democracy died today’
MANILA, Philippines – Democracy is dead, said opposition Senator Antonio Trillanes IV shortly after a Makati court issued an arrest warrant against him for charges covered by an amnesty granted to him in 2001.
“Namatay ho ang demokrasya ngayong araw na ito (Democracy died today),” Trillanes told reporters on Tuesday, September 25, minutes before the Makati police served him his arrest warrant at the Senate.
Makati Regional Trial Court Branch 150 Executive Judge Elmo Alameda released the warrant 3 weeks after President Rodrigo Duterte revoked the amnesty given Trillanes and his fellow ex-soldiers who mounted two failed mutinies against the Arroyo administration in 2003 and 2007.
“Kagaya nang sinabi ko noong isang linggo, itong mga petition namin sa korte ay isang pagsubok sa tibay ng ating demoktasya, ng ating judicial system. Kahit pinakita na namin lahat ng ebidensiya kontra sa kanilang mga kadahilanan kung bakit narevoke ang aking amnesty, gayun pa rin, inilabas pa rin ang warrant of arrest na ito,” said Trillanes.
(Like what I said last week, the petitions we filed in court are a challenge to how strong our democracy and judicial system is. Even if we had shown all the evidence to counter their claims on why my amnesty was revoked, they still came out with this warrant of arrest.)
The staunch critic of President Rodrigo Duterte said the warrant clearly shows that the government is out to silence its critics.
“Officially, wala na po tayong demokrasya. This case goes beyond me. Dito nakikita, wala po akong krimen na ginagawa… Ito ay maliwanag na panggigipit ni Mr Duterte sa kanyang mga kritiko sa politika, ‘yong mga nagsasabi ng totoo,” said Trillanes.
(Officially, we are not in a democracy anymore. This case goes beyond me. We can see here I did not commit crime… This is clearly Mr. Duterte silencing his political critics, those who tell the truth.)
The senator did not resist arrest. (LOOK: Trillanes smiles for mug shots)
Trillanes was brought to the Makati City Central Police Station for the booking procedure. He intended to post bail, which the Makati court set at P200,000, on Tuesday afternoon.
The rebellion charge against Trillanes was revived after Duterte issued Proclamation No. 572, revoking the amnesty granted to the senator for leading the 2003 Oakwood mutiny and the 2007 Manila Peninsula siege. (READ: INSIDE STORY: How Duterte handled Trillanes fiasco from Israel, Jordan)
Over the past few days, Trillanes’ legal team has been producing evidence to show that the amnesty granted to him in 2011 was valid and legal. But it seemed not sufficient.
Trillanes is the second opposition senator to be jailed under the Duterte administration.
Senator Leila de Lima, also a fierce Duterte critic, has been detained in Camp Crame since February 2017 for multiple drug charges
PH ‘now under a dictatorship’
Magdalo Representative Gary Alejano said the country is now in a dictatorship.
“Sa paglabas ng warrant of arrest laban kay Sen. Trillanes, natanggal na ang pagkukunwari ng administrasyong Duterte na tayo ay nasa demokrasya pa. Tayo po ay na sa isa ng diktadurya ngayon,” said Alejano minutes after Trillanes’ arrest.
(With the issuance of the warrant of arrest against Senator Trillanes, the Duterte administration can no longer continue pretending that the country is still in a democracy. We are now in a dictatorship.)
Alejano was among the soldiers who joined Trillanes during the mutinies in 2003 and 2007 to protest alleged corruption in the administration of then president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.
Former president Benigno Aquino III granted them a general amnesty in November 2010, but their entire application process was done only in January 2011.
On August 31, Duterte signed a proclamation declaring Trillanes' amnesty void. Two reasons were cited for this: because of the supposed absence of his application form and his alleged failure to admit to guilt. The senator's camp showed evidence to debunk the President's claim.
Alejano said Trillanes’ arrest is an “assault to the whole Philippine justice system.”
He added that if Duterte can do this to Trillanes, it means the President is capable of doing the same thing to anyone else who would oppose him.
“Kung mga mambabatas nga ay kayang-kayang gipitin, mas lalo na ang mga ordinaryong Pilipino na naghahanap ng hustisya sa mga pang-aabuso ng administrasyong Duterte (If even a lawmaker can be oppressed, then all the more the ordinary Filipinos who are seeking justice for all the abuses of the Duterte administration),” said Alejano. – Rappler.com