Pres. Duterte tells AFP to wait for court orders on Trillanes


There will be no military arrest for embattled opposition senator Antonio Trillanes IV as President Duterte will await the decision of the civilian court on the charges against him.

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said Duterte has ordered the military to comply with the judicial process and let the court decide on the fate of Trillanes, who led two anti-government uprisings when he was still a Navy officer.

"The president decided that he would abide with the rule of law. He will wait for the decision of the court, the regional trial court, on whether it will issue a warrant of arrest," Roque said in a press briefing here.

"He will allow the judicial process to proceed and he will await the issuance of the proper warrant of arrest if there is indeed one to be issued before senator Trillanes is arrested and apprehended," he added.

Roque said Duterte made the decision after a "lengthy discussion" with Cabinet members on the sidelines of his three-day official visit here.

Duterte has issued Proclamation 572 voiding the amnesty given to Trillanes by former president Benigno Aquino III in 2010, a move that would revive the rebellion charges against the senator. Officials say Trillanes' amnesty was void from the beginning because of his failure to meet the qualification requirements. They claim that Trillanes did not follow the process in filing for amnesty and refused to admit the crime he committed.

Trillanes, who led the Oakwood mutiny in 2003 and the Manila Peninsula Siege in 2007 to demand the resignation of former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, claimed he is being persecuted for being critical of Duterte. Trillanes was a member of the Magdalo, a group of rebel soldiers who accused Arroyo of corruption and electoral fraud. Trillanes has sought protection from Senate leaders and has been staying in the chamber since Wednesday to avoid an arrest.

The senator has also challenged Duterte's order before the Supreme Court following rumors that the military court martial would soon order his arrest. Malacañang previously said Trillanes' separation from the military would not remove his liability and would not exempt him from court martial proceedings.

Roque dismissed as "drama" Trillanes' decision to remain in the Senate, saying no one would arrest him unless the court issues a warrant.

"It is clear that while we are waiting for the decision of the Regional Trial Court on whether to issue a warrant of arrest, the decision of Sen. Antonio Trillanes to stay in the Senate has no basis. Perhaps it is just drama because no one will arrest him without a warrant of arrest," he said.
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