By Jel Santos and Vanne Elaine Terrazola
Senator Antonio Trillanes IV was arrested Tuesday shortly after Makati Regional Trial Court Branch 150 Executive Judge Elmo Alameda issued a warrant of arrest against him on rebellion charges.
Senate Sergeant-at-Arms Jose Balajadia said Chief Superintendent Guillermo Eleazar, National Capital Regional Police Office director, served the arrest warrant.
Trillanes, who voluntarily went with the arresting officers, was taken to the Makati Police Station for booking procedures. He later proceeded to the Makati RTC Branch 150 to post P200,000 bail, prompting Judge Alameda to order his release.
Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said he never doubted that an arrest warrant and hold-departure order (HDO) will be issued against Trillanes.
“What is significant here is the case is very much alive,” said Guevarra.
The DOJ filed the motion after President Duterte issued Proclamation No. 572, which declared as “void ab initio” or void from the start the amnesty given to Trillanes over his involvement in the 2003 Oakwood mutiny and the 2007 Peninsula Manila siege.
The Makati RTC Branch 150 is handling the rebellion case against Trillanes over his involvement in the Oakwood mutiny.
In his order dated Sept. 25, Judge Alameda said, “the prosecution’s Omnibus Motion dated September 7, 2018 for issuance of Warrant of Arrest and Hold-Departure Order against Sen. Antonio F. Trillanes IV is granted.”
The DOJ has a similar pending motion before Makati RTC Branch 148, which is handling the coup d’etat case over the lawmaker’s involvement in the Oakwood mutiny.
Waiting for a miracle
Faced with the prospect of detention, coup d’etat being a non-bailable offense, Trillanes said he is only hoping for a “miracle” to happen on his case before Branch 148 so he would not be arrested again.
“Wala na, eh. As it is, milagro na lang ang hinihintay natin from Branch 148. Well, slightly more hopeful, but we have to expect for the worst,” Trillanes said in a press briefing upon returning to Senate late Tuesday afternoon after posting his bail.
In a press conference prior to his arrest, the embattled senator said the issuance of the arrest order shows that democracy has been compromised, too.
“Natalo po ang demokrasya ngayong araw na ito. Ang kaso naming ito sa korte ay pagsubok sa tibay ng ating demokrasya, sa tibay ng ating justice system (Democracy lost today. Our case in court is a test for democracy and the justice system),” he said.
“Pinwersa at binaluktot ang batas kaya nag-fail ang ating demokrsya at mga institusyon (The law was bended that’s why democracy and the institutions failed),” he added.
He maintained that he has already proven his filing for his amnesty seven years ago. He said the pieces of evidence he provided before the court were strong enough to counter the reasons cited by the administration in invalidating his amnesty.
Leni, senators slam arrest warrant
Vice President Leni Robredo and opposition senators slammed the issuance of an arrest warrant and HDO against Trillanes by the Makati court three weeks after President Duterte nullified the amnesty granted to him by the Aquino administration.
“We are a bit surprised because we know that the case for rebellion has already been dismissed in the granting of the amnesty,” Robredo said in an interview after attending the Senate finance committee’s hearing to defend the Office of the Vice President’s (OVP) proposed budget for 2019.
“Poverty and inflation are the enemies, not the opposition. Our call to the administration: Please stop. The threats and intimidation are already excessive,” Sen. Paolo “Bam” Aquino IV said in Filipino.
“It is the people that are forgotten while they are trying to silence Sen. Trillanes and other critics of government. While they are fighting, the primary issues hounding the people are ignored and left out,” Aquino added.
Sen. Risa Hontiveros echoed Aquino’s views as she condemns the issuance of the arrest warrant against Trillanes, calling it “a black eye for democracy and rule of law” as the country’s “courts caved in to the whims of President Duterte.”
“The issuance of the warrant is part of the government’s attempt to intimidate political critics and a looming crackdown on the opposition. It reeks of panic and desperation over the growing opposition to the President’s authoritarian rule,” Hontiveros said.
“Beyond the President’s intolerance of opposition politics, it exposes the depth of his paranoia and fear of dissent,” added the senator.
Sen. Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan, likewise, said that while he respects the court’s decision, he maintains that the revocation of the amnesty is illegal. (With reports from Hannah L. Torregoza)