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Guts still short to leave Senate

Mario J. Mallari



Not even an assurance from Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana that there will be no warrantless arrest against him can persuade Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV to halt his Senate campout and end the media attention he and his allies have been getting.
Yesterday, Lorenzana said the military would not act against Trillanes unless the courts issued an arrest warrant.

“No warrant, no arrest,” Lorenzana said.

Contrary to his initial pronouncement on Tuesday that he intended to go home, Trillanes yesterday said he will keep himself holed up inside the Senate building “for fear of being arrested.”

Trillanes said he will keep himself holed up inside the Senate building

Trillanes is demanding an official order to be issued to units of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) which are tasked to arrest him.

Until yesterday, Trillanes claimed that no such order had been issued to the military.
“We tried to validate that (Lorenzana’s) pronouncement on the ground but the concerned AFP units are still maintaining that they will still arrest me because that is the order,” Trillanes said.

“Without such an order revoking the arrest order, I was advised by my lawyers not to go out just yet,” he added.

For more than a week now, Trillanes has taken refuge inside the Senate building where Senate President Vicente Sotto III has declared that as a matter of policy and to preserve the dignity of the chamber there will be no arrest to be made without proper warrant.

On Tuesday, Trillanes publicly announced he intended to go home after the SC released a decision denying his petition for a temporary restraining order (TRO) against Proclamation 572.

Face raps

Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) director Sandra Cam, a staunch critic of Trillanes, said the likely reopening of court martial proceedings against Trillanes “is a product of his political and legal actuations for insulting” Mr. Duterte.

“Every citizen has the right to criticize the presidency but when it crosses the borderline, he must accept the corresponding consequence,” she said.

The continuing verbal assaults of Trillanes on Mr. Duterte are “not only a personal attack on the presidency but also undermine our very own institutions by capitalizing on his Senate position,” she said.

Cam said Trillanes “should not hide in the Senate but instead should be man enough to face the legal consequences of all his actions and actuations.”

Sereno drops by

Ousted Supreme Court Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno visited Trillanes in his office, claiming she just fulfilled a promise to the senator for a talk.

“I had promised Senator Trillanes this conversation a long time ago so I came here to fulfill my promise,” said Sereno before delivering her statement.

Sereno warned of the implications of Proclamation 572 to previous beneficiaries of amnesty, naming Sen. Gregorio Honasan and incumbent AFP chief of staff Gen. Carlito Galvez.

The proclamation declared the amnesty granted to Trillanes as void ab initio.
Both Honasan and Galvez were implicated in the coup d’etat against the late President Cory Aquino in the late 1980s.

“The implications of this (revocation of amnesty) are deep and alarming,” Sereno said.
At the same time, Sereno branded presidential spokesman Harry Roque’s interpretation of the Supreme Court (SC) decision junking Trillanes’ plea for a TRO as “dangerous.”

Trillanes and Sereno share a common adversary in Solicitor General Jose Calida.

Calida was the brains behind the petition for quo warranto that questioned the appointment of Sereno as chief justice. The Supreme Court sided with Calida which resulted in Sereno’s ouster.

The Solgen was also responsible for initiating a review on Trillanes’ amnesty by asking the AFP for a copy of records related to the latter’s application.

Ball is with courts

The SC denied Trillanes’ petition seeking the issuance of a TRO against Proclamation 572 on 11 September.

“Thus, there is no extreme and urgent necessity for the Court to issue an injunctive relief, considering that the respondents have acknowledged Senator Trillanes’ right to due process,” the SC said.

It also stressed that it is up to the trial courts to determine the facts of the cases against Trillanes.

“Hence, it is appropriate that the Makati RTC (Regional Trial Court) should be given leeway in exercising their concurrent jurisdiction to hear and resolve the pleadings/motions filed by the parties as regards the legality of Proclamation 572,” it added.

The Department of Justice (DoJ) has filed separate motions before Makati RTC Branches 148 and 150, asking that arrest warrants and hold departure orders be issued against Trillanes.

Branch 148 is handling the coup d’etat case against Trillanes concerning the Oakwood mutiny, while Branch 150 is handling the rebellion case against the senator over the Manila Peninsula siege.

Branch 148 Judge Andres Soriano and Branch 150 Judge Elmo Alameda have set separate hearings on the DoJ’s motion on Thursday and Friday, respectively.

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