Trillanes vows to face arrest: 'Mr Duterte, hindi ako takot sa iyo'

MANILA, Philippines – Opposition senator Antonio Trillanes IV on Tuesday, September 4, vowed to face arrest, after President Rodrigo Duterte revoked his amnesty granted in 2010.

“Hindi ko iiwasan yan. Mr Duterte, hindi ako takot sa iyo (I won't evade that. Mr Duterte, I'm not afraid of you),” Trillanes told reporters ahead of his committee hearing into the security agency of Solicitor General Jose Calida, Duterte’s ally.

“Hindi ako magtatago definitely. My lawyers are exhausting legal remedies. Kung dadating sa punto na kailangang pumunta, mag-walk in pa ako mismo. I will not resist arrest, I will not escape. Haharapin ko ito.... Lalo akong gaganahan [tumira]. 'Di ako matatakot, 'di ako aalis,” Trillanes said.

(I will not go into hiding, definitely. My lawyers are exhausting legal remedies. If it would reach that point, I myself would walk in. I will not resist arrest, I will not escape. I will face this....This encourages me [to be more critical]. I won't fear it, I won't go away.)

“Itong pangyayari na ito, it should be clear to everyone na si Mr Duterte ay isang diktador. Hindi siya rumerespeto sa institusyon kaya ganito tayo. Kung 'yung mga ordinaryong tao pinapatay, 'yung mga kritiko niya ikukulong, so ganyan ang kalakaran sa Pilipinas ngayon,” he said.

(With this incident, it should be clear to everyone that Mr Duterte is a dictator. He doesn't respect the institution, that's why we're at this point. If ordinary people are being killed, and his critics are being jailed, it shows how things are in the Philippines now.)

Duterte signed Proclamation No. 572, declaring Trillanes’ amnesty "void ab initio." (READ: 8 things to know about Antonio Trillanes IV)

Proclamation No. 572 was published in the advertisements section of the Manila Times, on Tuesday, September 4. Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra confirmed the issuance of the proclamation which was published while Duterte is in Israel  for an official visit.

Trillanes called the President’s order “bogus,” saying the grant of an amnesty is an act of Congress and could not be superseded by an executive order.

He also refuted Duterte’s claim that the senator failed to comply with the necessary requirements for the amnesty grant. It was impossible, he said, as he had to agree with the terms set in his amnesty.

In October 2010, then President Benigno Aquino III signed Proclamation No 50 granting amnesty to Trillanes, who led the 2003 Oakwood mutiny and the 2007 Manila Peninsula siege against the administration of then-President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

He later issued Proclamation 75 in November 2010, superseding Proclamation 50. It was then concurred in by both chambers of Congress.

“Di puwedeng bawiin ang amnesty. Ano ba 'yun? Tapos may double jeopardy. I was already subjected to that, nung nag-try ako and na-dismiss. Ano ngayon uulitin 'yun? Ano ba 'yan? Paturo nga sila sa law students?” Trillanes asked.

(The amnesty cannot be revoked. How can that be? Then there's double jeopardy. I was already subjected to that, when I was tried and [the case was] dismissed. What, now, we're going to doit all over again? What's that? They should let laws student teach them.)

“Itong amnesty is an act of Congress. Hindi siya masusupersede ng isang executive order (An amnesty is an act of Congress. It cannot be superseded by an executive order),” he added.

Trillanes also accused Calida of masterminding the revocation, owing to the senator’s investigation into Calida’s conflict of interest  in government contracts. The hearing was held that day, hours after Proclamation 572 was published in a newspaper.

“Alam niyo itong si Mr Calida gumawa nito eh. Siyempre gustong-gusto ng amo niyang si Duterte. They've been trying everything to stop this hearing na i-ko-conduct ko against kay Mr Calida,” Trillanes said.

(You know, Mr Calida is behind this. Of course, his master, Duterte, is all for it. They've been trying everything to stop this hearing that I would conduct against Mr Calida.)

Amid his impending arrest, Trillanes reiterated his consistent challenge to Dutete: Sign a bank waiver.

“Di ko maisip na they would go to great lengths, even make themselves look stupid para lang to get rid of me. Isa lang hamon ko eh: Pumirma siya ng waiver, magkaalaman. Magreresign ako. Sabi ko papasok ako sa kulungan e. 'Di mo kailangan gumawa ng ganitong kalokohan,” he said.

(I couldn't imagine that would go to great lenghts, even make themselves look stupid just to get rid of me. I only have one challenge: Sign the waiver, so we would all know. I will resign. I said I would go to jail. You don't have to do this kind of foolishness.)

In 2017, Chief Presidential Counsel Salvador Panelo first floated the idea of reviewing Trillanes' amnesty.

As of posting, Trillanes was conducting a Senate civil service, government reorganization, and professional regulation committee hearing on Calida's alleged questionable deals with the government. (READ: Calida wants Supreme Court to block Senate probe into firm's contracts– Rappler.com

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Camille Elemia

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 camille.elemia@rappler.com

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