Published: Wed, September 26, 2018
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

Philippine president's fiercest critic arrested, posts bail

Philippine president's fiercest critic arrested, posts bail

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said he never doubted that an arrest warrant and hold-departure order (HDO) will be issued against Trillanes.

Beleaguered Sen. Antonio F. Trillanes IV, after presiding over a Senate hearing, was served a warrant of arrest on Tuesday, but promptly posted bail at a Makati City Regional Trial Court (RTC), allowing him to skip jail after the Duterte administration revoked the amnesty granted him for an old rebellion case ensuing from a failed military mutiny.

Philippines police arrested the most prominent critic of President Rodrigo Duterte, capping a three-week showdown that has tested the limits of Mr. Duterte's power and thrown into question the country's judicial independence.

Trillanes was taken by police to their headquarters in Makati city, where his fingerprints and mugshot were taken.

Judge Elmo Alameda of Branch 150 issued a warrant of arrest on Tuesday but set the bail at P200,000 - the same amount granted to Trillanes in 2010.

"That is how I construe the deeper meaning of the order granting the issuance of a warrant of arrest", Guevarra said, when asked whether the order is tantamount to the reopening of the rebellion case and a ruling based on its merit.

Trillanes has backed several complaints to the International Criminal Court (ICC) seeking the president's indictment for crimes against humanity and has protected people willing to testify against Duterte. "This (case) has nothing to do with anything except for the vengeance of Duterte and his underlings". The offences against Trillanes were originally cancelled by a 2011 amnesty approved by Duterte's predecessor, President Benigno Aquino, and Congress.

Trillanes, a former naval officer, was involved in the Oakwood mutiny in July 2003, the Marines standoff in February 2006, and the Manila Peninsula incident in 2007 - which were all against then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

Trillanes has been key critic of Duterte and has repeatedly slammed the 73-year-old president for his policies, including a deadly campaign against illegal drugs.

The prosecution led by Acting Prosecutor General Richard Anthony Fadullon presented a certification dated August 30, 2018, issued and signed by one Lt. Gen. Thea Joan Andrade of the Armed Forces of the Philippines-Discipline, Law and Order Division to prove that the senator failed to apply for an amnesty.

Duterte has also accused Trillanes, without offering evidence, of plotting with other opposition politicians, including the Liberal party and leftist groups, to oust him.

"Trillanes's arrest today sends a chilling effect among other critics of the Duterte administration". Trillanes and opposition groups have dismissed the claim as a lie and asked him to focus instead on addressing poverty, inflation, rice shortages, traffic jams and a decline in the value of the piso.

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