MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – A live midnight press briefing by Senator Antonio Trillanes IV jolted Filipinos before sunrise on Friday, September 7, as rumors spread that the military was set to arrest this Duterte nemesis while the nation was asleep.
Tensions rose that rainy evening.
"Please be on standby. We may need your presence at the Senate," said the office of detained Senator Leila de Lima in a statement Thursday evening, September 6. De Lima's fellow opposition senator Francis Pangilinan also urged Trillanes supporters to troop to the Senate to prevent his "illegal arrest."
While an ally of President Rodrigo Duterte, Senate President Vicente Sotto III meanwhile stood his ground. "Nope," Sotto said when asked if soldiers can enter the Senate building to make a warrantless arrest against Trillanes
Trillanes' arrest didn’t happen that night. The nation remains on standby.
Military arrest 'faster' but…
For now, as Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said, a military arrest is the "faster" option to arrest Trillanes.
The catch? Trillanes' lawyer pointed out that the maximum penalty in court martial proceedings is dismissal from service. Trillanes resigned from service and became a civilian again in 2007. Even Duterte's national security adviser, then military chief Hermogenes Esperon Jr, recognized Trillanes' resignation even before he was given amnesty.
This is why the planned military arrest, said Trillanes' lawyer Rey Robles, is "an act of desperation."
Why Trillanes ran to Supreme Court
"Kakaririn ko kayo (I will run after you)," the former Navy officer Trillanes warned.
Will Trillanes be arrested on Friday? – Rappler.com
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Paterno R. Esmaquel II, news editor of Rappler, specializes in covering religion and foreign affairs. He obtained his MA Journalism degree from Ateneo and later finished MSc Asian Studies (Religions in Plural Societies) at RSIS, Singapore. For story ideas or feedback, email him at email@example.com.