By Camille A. Aguinaldo Reporter
and Vann Marlo M. Villegas
OPPOSITION Senator Antonio F. Trillanes IV on Thursday dared President Rodrigo R. Duterte to declare a revolutionary government so he could eliminate legal hurdles to his possible arrest.
Mr. Trillanes made this dare at the Senate, as his lawyer petitioned the Supreme Court that day to issue a temporary restraining order on Mr. Duterte’s Proclamation No. 572 voiding the 2011 amnesty for the senator.
Mr. Trillanes was pardoned by Mr. Duterte’s predecessor, Benigno S.C. Aquino III, in connection with leading a series of revolts as a Navy lieutenant against then president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. He previously faced rebellion and coup d’etat charges over the 2003 Oakwood Mutiny and the 2007 Manila Peninsula Hotel siege.
Ngayon kung gagawa sila ng isang milagro eh ang sa akin ay mag-declare na lang sila ng revolutionary government. Huwag na sila magpanggap (Now, if they are going to create a miracle, for me, they should declare a revolutionary government. They shouldn’t pretend anymore),” Mr. Trillanes told reporters at a press briefing outside his Senate office.
He also said some members of the military were “extremely bothered” with the presidential proclamation that voided his 2011 amnesty. He said he received messages from some military personnel who also conveyed their “conflicted” thoughts on the issue.
Basta’t ang sinasabi ko lang (What I’m saying), they are bothered. They are extremely bothered by this political move of their commander-in-chief na isinasalang pa sila rito sa alanganin (that they are being subjected to this uncertainty),” Mr. Trillanes said.
“Definitely, they are conflicted because they knew this is political….But ayaw natin gumawa ng (we don’t want to do) anything extra-constitutional at this point,” he added.
In a security briefing in November last year with Vice-President Maria Leonor G. Robredo, top officials of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Department of National Defense (DND) said they will not support any moves to establish a revolutionary government.
At the Supreme Court, Mr. Trillanes’s lawyer, Reynaldo B. Robles, told reporters, “Alam natin na (We know that) Senator Trillanes is being specifically targeted by the administration…It is clear that it is political harassment kasi ang daming problema ang bayan natin, tumaas ang presyo ng bigas, wala tayong mahuling isda, tumataas lahat ng presyo. Ang sinisilip nila ‘yung pag-aaply ng amnesty na walong taon na ang nakakaraan (because the country has many problems, rice prices have increased, we have a fish shortage, prices have all gone up [But] they are looking into an application for amnesty from eight years ago).”
Mr. Trillanes’s petition cited, among other circumstances, the 2011 dismissal of his coup d’etat and rebellion charges by Branch 148 and Branch 150 of the Makati Regional Trial Court.
Named respondents in Mr. Trillanes’s petition are Executive Secretary Salvador C. Medialdea, Defense Secretary Delfin N. Lorenzana, Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo M. Año, Justice Secretary Menardo I. Guevarra, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff Gen. Carlito G. Galvez, Jr., and Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief Oscar D. Albayalde.
For his part, Senate Minority Leader Franklin M. Drilon said in an interview with ANC’s Headstart that Mr. Trillanes’s case “cannot be reopened, because otherwise there will be no more stability in our society and in our system, because seven years after the case has been decided you’ll go back and say, ‘No, mali iyan (that was wrong).’”
“The stability in our system requires that there must be finality in the orders of the court so that the people will follow. Otherwise there will be chaos,” Mr. Drilon also said.