From posh hotels to the Senate: The 3 times Senator Trillanes was arrested

Jodesz Gavilan

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From posh hotels to the Senate: The 3 times Senator Trillanes was arrested


The September 2018 arrest is not the first for Senator Antonio Trillanes IV who has been previously arrested in connection with the 2003 Oakwood mutiny and 2007 Manila Peninsula siege

MANILA, Philippine – Senator Antonio Trillanes IV was arrested on Wednesday, September 25, for the charge of rebellion, a case that he was already given amnesty under the Aquino administration.

He became the 2nd opposition senator arrested under President Rodrigo Duterte. The controversy was sparked by issuance of Proclamation No. 572 which revoked the amnesty granted in connection to the 2003 Oakwood mutiny and the 2007 Manila Peninsula siege. (TIMELINE: Trillanes, from mutiny to amnesty)

But this is not the first arrest of Trillanes. The latest development raises his arrest counter to 3 – all in relation to calling the ouster of then president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. 

Oakwood mutiny – July 2003

Trillanes, as a Lieutenant Senior Grade at the Philippine Navy, was first arrested on July 27, 2003. 

His arrest stemmed from leading over 300 junior officers of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in taking over Oakwood Premier in Makati City to protest the alleged corruption in the Arroyo administration and anomalies within the military. 

The so-called Magdalo group eventually surrendered after 18 hours of negotiations and failure to drum up support, according to a 2003 Newsbreak report. 

Together with other soldiers, Trillanes was arrested and detained in Fort Bonifacio in Taguig. The arrest was made without a warrant as Arroyo declared a “state of rebellion.”  

They were later charged before the military court while the Department of Justice (DOJ) filed coup d’etat charges against 321 mutineers.

Manila Peninsula siege – November 2007

SECOND TIME. Senator Antonio Trillanes IV joined by rebel officers and civilian supporters inside a hotel room after announcing their surrender while government security forces assault the luxury Manila Peninsula in Makati,  November 29, 2007. File photo by Jason Gutierrez

Trillanes was once again taken 4 years later in November 29, 2007 after taking over another hotel – the Manila Peninsula – with other members of the Magdalo group.  

This time, however, he was arrested months after winning a seat at the Senate while campaigning from jail.

The group walked out during a hearing of their coup d’etat case before a Makati RTC and headed to the hotel where they once again called for the ouster of Arroyo. 

Trillanes and other Magdalo soldiers eventually surrendered, ending the 6-hour siege. He was detained at the Camp Crame detention center in Quezon City.

Unlike the Oakwood mutiny, the Manila Peninsula incident was more tense and violent with government forces storming the luxury hotel – even ramming an armored vehicle into the lobby. 

Journalists and other members of the media were even handcuffed and shoved into a bus. Military officials said this was done to ensure they were not “mutineers in disguise.” 

The DOJ again filed the second rebellion charges against Trillanes and 35 others in connection with the Manila Peninsula siege.

Under Duterte – September 2018

LATEST. Senator Antonio Trillanes IV joins police after being served an arrest warrant by the Makati RTC. Photo by Joseph Vidal/Senate PRIB

The year 2018 saw Trillanes arrested again after Duterte revoked the amnesty granted to him for the failed coup attempts he previously staged under Arroyo. 

After weeks of waiting, Makati RTC Branch 150 Executive Judge Elmo Alameda  released an arrest warrant for Trillanes who was holed up in his Senate office.

In his order, Alameda said he finds that “it has now becoming glaringly clear that Senator Trillanes failed to substantiate his claim that he filed his application for amnesty.”

This time, however, Trillanes will not be spending a night in jail since he was allowed to post bail amounting to P200,000. 

The question of whether the Duterte government will allow one of its harshest critics free is another matter. –

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Jodesz Gavilan

Jodesz Gavilan is a writer and researcher for Rappler and its investigative arm, Newsbreak. She covers human rights and impunity beats, producing in-depth and investigative reports particularly on the quest for justice of victims of former president Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs and war on dissent.