MANILA, Philippines – Magdalo Representative Gary Alejano called on the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) not to follow "illegal orders" from President Rodrigo Duterte, who has ordered authorities to arrest opposition Senator Antonio Trillanes IV.
Addressing the military and the police, ex-Marine officer Alejano reminded them that they're not Duterte's private army.
"I'm calling on the Armed Forces and the Philippine National Police that they should not follow illegal orders. I'm reminding them that they are not the private army of this President – they are the army of the people," Alejano told reporters on Tuesday night, September 4.
Alejano said they do not want the military and police to be destroyed "just because of one person's wishes."
The military said on Tuesday that it will follow orders related to the voiding of Trillanes' amnesty by Duterte, who is also commander-in-chief of the armed forces. Military spokesman Colonel Edgard Arevalo gave assurances that "your armed forces are a professional... mature organization."
The Department of Justice has applied for an arrest warrant with a local court, but Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said that even without this, policemen and soldiers can arrest the senator.
The Senate stood its ground, saying Trillanes cannot be arrested in the Senate building, where he is now.
Around 40 members of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group, AFP, and PNP trooped to the Senate on Tuesday, but were not allowed entry by the Senate sergeant-at-arms upon Senate President Vicente Sotto III's order.
Alejano was among those who led the 2003 Oakwood mutiny against the administration of former president and now House Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.
Alejano and Trillanes faced several charges, including coup d’etat and rebellion, but were later granted amnesty by former president Benigno Aquino III.
Alejano said Magdalo soldiers rebelled against the Arroyo administration over corruption and rights violations.
"Kami po ay nagrebelde sa nakaraang administrasyon ng GMA dahil sa nakita po namin tahasang paglabag ng karapatan ng taumbayan, ng corruption sa loob ng gobyerno," he said.
(We rebelled against the GMA administration because we saw the outright violation of people's rights and corruption in government.)
On Tuesday, Duterte revoked Trillanes' amnesty, alleging that the amnesty extended to Trillanes was void from the start because he did not comply with the "minimum requirements to qualify under the amnesty proclamation." (READ: Trillanes vows to face arrest: 'Mr Duterte, hindi ako takot sa iyo')
Duterte's order said there was no proof Trillanes applied for amnesty, a claim debunked by the senator who showed photos and video as proof that he did. (LOOK: Trillanes shows proof of application) – 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