SENATOR Antonio Trillanes IV was responsible for his current state, as he was the one who “started the ruckus,” President Rodrigo Duterte said on Saturday, September 7.

Speaking to reporters in Davao City, Duterte stressed that he was merely fulfilling his mandate to enforce the law when he ordered to revoke Trillanes's amnesty certificate and ordered the beleaguered senator's arrest.

“Remember, we never started the ruckus. It was all Trillanes pretending to be a crusading soldier when, as a matter of fact, wala naman silang ginawa (he did not do anything),” Duterte said upon his arrival from his week-long visits to Israel and Jordan.

Duterte's remark came in the wake of his decision to sign Proclamation 572 on August 31, declaring Trillanes's amnesty granted by the Aquino government as invalid from the beginning.

Under Proclamation 572, Trillanes, a former Navy official, was ordered arrested and could face criminal and administrative cases for his involvement in the Oakwood Mutiny in July 2003 and the Manila Peninsula Siege in November 2007.

The President has earned wide criticisms for issuing the proclamation against Trillanes, who is currently staying at his office in the Senate to evade arrest.

Duterte, however, emphasized that it was Solicitor General (SolGen) Jose Calida and not him who initiated the review of Trillanes's amnesty.

“'Yung kay Trillanes, alam mo, ang totoo niyan, ang nag-research, si Calida (Frankly, it was Calida who conducted the research on Trillanes's case),” he said.

“'Pag sinabi ng SolGen, may mali ((If the SolGen said there's something wrong) and this has to be corrected, I cannot refuse. He is the government lawyer. Though I am the president, I cannot insist lalo na (especially) in view of the fact that it was recorded as a public paper,” the President added.

Duterte justified that his decision to void Trillanes's amnesty was based on the senator's failure to file an amnesty application form and admit his guilt for trying to overthrown former president and now House Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

“You think that you can just play with the Constitution? Hindi ako... You must remember, abugado ako. Hindi ko pipirmahan iyan kung alam kong walang... Iyan, failure to comply,” he said.

(You think that you can just play with the Constitution? I'm not... You must remember, I'm a lawyer. I will not sign it if I have no basis. It's because of his failure to comply)

“Remember, it's the Constitution. Mabigat kaya iyan. Biruin mo you can pardon criminals in this country and you can delegate it to just somebody just like that? Parang ginawa nila ang gobyerno na laruan. Hindi ako,” he added.

(Remember, it's the Constitution. It's a serious case. Imagine, you can pardon criminals in this country and you can delegate it to just somebody just like that. It seems like they think of the government as a game. It's not me.)

On Friday, September 7, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque Jr. said Duterte ruled out the warrantless arrest against Trillanes, stressing that the Chief Executive would await the decision of the Regional Trial Court on the senator's case.

Duterte said he would now leave Trillanes's fate to the court.

“Let the court decide on it whether he should go back to jail because that's where he came from,” the President said. (SunStar Philippines)


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