Manila, Philippines – The family of Senator Antonio Trillanes IV stood by the embattled lawmaker as President Rodrigo Duterte on Saturday, September 8, defended his decision to revoke the amnesty enjoyed by one of his fiercest critics.
It was not an easy week for Trillanes’ family, but the senator said they remain “in high spirits.” He said they have been through worse, referring to the time he staged the 2003 Oakwood mutiny and the 2007 Manila Peninsula siege.
His wife Arlene and their two children have been visiting him at the Senate. Trillanes’ mother, who suffers from advance Parkinson’s disease, has been left in the dark for now.
“Ito na ang silver lining: Nakita ng mga kababayan natin ‘yung tunay na mukha ni Duterte. Siya ay isang diktador na walang intensyong bumitaw sa puwesto kundi palawakin nang palawakin ang kanyang kapangyarihan. At hindi para tulungan mga kababayan natin kundi para sa kanya,” he said.
(This is the silver lining: Our countrymen are seeing the real Duterte. He is a dictator who has no plans to leave his post. Instead, he plans to expand his power further. And this is not to help the people but only for selfish gain.)
Trillanes’ supporters also continued blasting Duterte for revoking his amnesty. Outside the Senate on Saturday, his supporters gathered for a Mass presided over by Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo.
Duterte, on the other hand, lashed out at Trillanes on Saturday, in a speech at the Davao City airport shortly after arriving from his official trips to Israel and Jordan.
Duterte said it was Solicitor General Jose Calida who “did the research” on the amnesty granted to Trillanes and other mutineers by then-president Benigno Aquino III in 2011.
The President claims in his Proclamation No 572 that Trillanes never filed for an amnesty in the first place, but photos and videos presented by the senator, as well as documents from the Department of National Defense, debunk Duterte’s allegations.
The President also ranted against Trillanes, belittling his critic’s contributions to the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).
Trillanes fired back, saying he was one of the primary co-authors of the revised AFP modernization law and the Salary Standardization Act, which raised the pay of government workers.
The senator also said the President is wooing the military to be a “tool for oppression.”
Duterte ordered the military to conduct a warrantless arrest against Trillanes, saying it is his prerogative. He later changed his tune, saying he would now wait for a court decision on Trillanes’ arrest.