MANILA, Philippines – Senator Antonio Trillanes IV on Tuesday, September 4, has requested to be put under Senate custody after President Rodrigo Duterte revoked the amnesty granted to him in 2010 and ordered his arrest.
The minority bloc – including Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon, senators Risa Hontiveros, Francis Pangilinan, and Paolo Benigno Aquino IV – asked Senate President Vicente Sotto III to put Trillanes under Senate custody until all legal remedies have been exhausted.
This means Trillanes would stay inside the Senate building for now. (READ: Trillanes vows to face arrest: 'Mr Duterte, hindi ako takot sa iyo')
“Basically I was placed under the custody of the Senate until my lawyers [have filed] the necessary petitions [with] the Supreme Court para ma-resolve itong kalokohan na ito ni Duterte at ni Calida (to resolve this nonsense created by Duterte and Calida),” Trillanes told reporters after the minority’s meeting with Sotto in the latter’s office.
“Assurance ni Senate President [Sotto ay] for as long as nasa Senate premises, he will not allow any arrest. Sa akin kasi, hindi ung pagsa-subject sa arrest eh, kasi nakulong naman ako before and, hindi naman sa hinahanap-hanap ko 'yan, it's something na di ko aatrasan,” he said, as he thanked Sotto for defending the chamber.
(The assurance of Senate President Sotto is that as long as I'm inside the Senate premises, he will not allow any arrest to be made. For me, [the issue] is not about being subject to an arrest, because I had been jailed before, although it's not like I'm looking for that, but it's something that I will face head-on.)
Around 40 members of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group, the Armed Forces of the Philippines, and the Philippine National Police trooped to the Senate on Tuesday, but were not allowed entry by the Senate sergeant-at-arms.
Trillanes has blamed Solicitor General Jose Calida for the revocation of his amnesty, owing to the senator's investigation into the questionable contracts that Calida's family business has with the government.
“This is a warrantles arrest, 'yung mga arresting officers ay walang warrant. Dun kasi sa warrant nakalagay kaso mo…. So, in this case, wala… (The arresting officers have no warrant. Because in that warrant, they should indicate the case, but it doesn't have that.) We're living basicaally in a de facto martial law environment,” he added.
Senate President Vicente Sotto III refused to take sides on the issue, saying it is within Duterte’s right to revoke the amnesty, contrary to Senator Drilon's view.
Sotto said the senators would still have to discuss the limits of Trillanes’ stay inside the Senate. Outside the chamber's premises, Sotto said Trillanes could be arrested.
“I have given instructions to the sergeant-at-arms: based on the tradition of the Senate and to preserve the dignity of the Senate, we cannot allow a senator to be arrested inside Senate premises. If it is considered that the Senate leadership [is] taking him into custody, it can be gleaned that way. Pero, as I said, it’s his call. And may mga limitations din 'yan na pag-uusapan namin (It also has limitations, the senators will talk about it)," Sotto told reporters.
Asked what the institution would do now that another opposition senator is going to be jailed, Sotto only said: “Ito kasing issue na ito walang precedence eh. It’s a different situation, different from that of Senator De Lima. It's different from [the cases of] Senator Enrile, Revilla and Estrada… iba eh.”
(This issue has no precedence. It's different situation, different from the situation of Senator Leila de Lima. It's different from the cases of senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Bong Revilla, and Jinggoy Estrada.)
Opposition senators have vowed to fight Duterte's order, calling it an “illegal and abusive exercise of presidential power.” – 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 email@example.com