President Rodrigo Duterte’s staunch critic Senator Antonio Trillanes IV was arrested after the revocation of his amnesty for a failed coup attempt.
“Darkness and evil have prevailed in the country,” Senator Antonio Trillanes IV said before walking out of the Senate, where he has has been living in his office since 4 September when, in an unprecedented legal move, the rebellion charges against him were revived by Duterte.
According to Duterte, Trillanes did not apply for the amnesty in time. However, videos showed that the Senator did apply for the amnesty. The records keeper stated the possibility that the office, “lost the application”.
Trillanes previously accused Duterte of acquiring ill-gotten wealth and challenged the President to sign a bank waiver which was refused. Trillanes also accused Duterte’s son, Paolo, of bringing in Php6.4 Billion worth of drugs into the country which was denied by the younger Duterte.
“Definitely our fight will continue,” he told reporters at the police headquarters, where he was accompanied by his lawyers and a number of allied senators.
“Officially we do not have a democracy any more. This case goes beyond me. We can see that I do not have a criminal record anymore because I was already granted amnesty seven years ago. This is a clear case of distortion by Duterte to his critics in politics.”
The Senator was taken to Makati City police headquarters where his fingerprints and mugshot were taken. He posted bail in the amount of 200,000 Pesos to secure temporary release.
The second court hearing is set on November 21, 2018. The arrest of Trillanes follows the imprisonment last year of another vocal Duterte critic, Senator Leila de Lima. She was sentenced to jail on drug charges which she vehemently denies and human rights organizations claims to be fabricated.
Duterte has been very prickly to criticism and anyone who goes against him earns his ire.
Carlos Conde, Asia researcher for Human Rights Watch, said: “The arrest today of Senator Antonio Trillanes IV is part of the persecution of critics of the Duterte administration, the latest in the relentless campaign to silence those who dared to challenge the president’s murderous ‘drug war’.”
“Trillanes’ arrest today sends a chilling effect among other critics of the Duterte administration.”
Before being elected President, Duterte did not shy away from proclaiming his admiration for communist ideology. He once considered sending his political party to China to get first-hand knowledge of communism.
Duterte set aside the Hague ruling which granted the Philippines full control over islands at the West Philippine Sea. This allowed China to come in and militarize the disputed islands.
Recently the International People’s Court found Duterte guilty for killing thousands of suspected drug addicts in the Philippines.
Trllanes backed the preliminary investigation by International Criminal Court (ICC) into the possible crimes being committed by Duterte against humanity with his war on drugs campaign.