Instead of initiating another mutiny that he has become notorious for in the past, military peers of Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV are instead seeking his expulsion from Philippine Military Academy Alumni Association Inc. (PMAAAI) roster which Malacañang said was clear proof of the adverse sentiment of soldiers on the former mutineer.
The move to exclude Trillanes from the list of alumni in the premier military academy where he graduated was initiated by Mindanao-based graduates, presidential spokesman Harry Roque said.
“It is clear proof of where the military’s loyalty lies,” he added.
In a paid advertisement by the Eagle Fraternal Chapter of the PMAAAI published on a major daily yesterday, PMA alumni from the South said they are “ostracizing” the former Navy officer-turned-lawmaker and want him expelled for “unbecoming acts that damaged the Academy’s honor and prestige.”
“His pattern of behavior shown in several instances as: a coup plotter during the Oakwood Mutiny in 2003 and the Manila Peninsula Siege in 2007; a senator with abrasive behavior during Senate hearing; a Filipino citizen with utter disregard and rudeness to authorities such as the Office of the President is an obvious display of conduct unbecoming of a public official and questionable mental health, fond of creating discord and divisiveness instead of his supposed duties to create policies to establish well ordered society,” the statement read.
Roque, in a text message sent to Palace reporters, said the full-page ad “reflects the overall sentiment of the military.”
No military backing
Roque said the desire to erase Trillanes’ name from the PMAAAI list refutes the embattled senator’s claim that he has the support of junior and senior military officers in his attacks against Mr. Duterte’s alleged unconstitutional way of running the government.
There is also no need for the President to conduct a loyalty check among uniformed personnel with both the Armed Forces and the Philippine National Police assuring they are “solidly behind the administration.”
In justifying his plan not to leave the Senate, despite earlier announcements he was ready to go home, Trillanes is now raising possible “scenarios” on how he would be arrested by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).
According to Trillanes, his lawyers advised him to remain at the Senate until all issues surrounding Proclamation 572 which invalidated an amnesty granted to him are resolved by the courts.
“The decision is to stay in the Senate until all cases are resolved by the courts,” Trillanes said.
Like a cornered rat
Since 4 September when the proclamation was issued, Trillanes had holed himself up at the Senate building.
Two Makati City Regional Trial Courts (RTC) have asked Trillanes to comment on the Department of Justice’s (DoJ’s) petition for warrant of arrest against him.
Trillanes during his briefings Thursday and Friday raised possible scenarios if he will leave the Senate premises where he is “safe” from military arrest as assured by Senate President Vicente Sotto III.
If he leaves the Senate, Trillanes said he could be intercepted anytime and anywhere and would be detained.
“They will track me and then intercept me at some point and then take me in,” Trillanes said.
On Thursday, Trillanes said motorcycle riding men tailed his vehicle on Wednesday and Thursday when it left the Senate premises.
He even released photographs of “motorcycle-riding personnel.”
“I can imagine that wherever I go, they will just call for somebody to intercept me…we don’t want any commotion,” Trillanes said.
Pressed if there is a kill plot against him, Trillanes replied “we’ll never know.”
Twice during his briefings, Trillanes promised to leave the Senate only to recant later.
Trillanes stressed that his continued stay at the Senate has not resulted in additional cost to its operating expenditures saying air conditioning units are turned off at night.
No arrest order yet
The senator again dodged the bullet as a Makati court postponed its ruling on the DoJ petition for an arrest warrant and hold departure order against the senator.
The Makati RTC branch 150 ordered the prosecution and defense panels to submit their replies and rejoinders within five days, as well as documents to prove whether or not the senator’s amnesty in 2011 was valid.
In the court order, DOJ prosecutors, led by acting Prosecutor General Richard Anthony Fadullon and Senior Assistant State Prosecutor Juan Pedro Navera were given five days to submit a reply.
Trillanes’ counsel Reynaldo Robles, meanwhile, also has five days to submit a rejoinder to the reply if necessary.
Branch 150 had heard the rebellion case against Trillanes when his group stormed the Manila Peninsula in November 2007 to protest against then President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.
The case was, however, dismissed even when the prosecution has yet to present evidence because of the amnesty given by then President Benigno Aquino III.
Judge Elmo Alameda acceded in giving more time to both camps to amplify their arguments in connection with the government motion for the issuance of a hold departure order (HDO) and an alias arrest warrant against the senator.
Robles appeared before the court for Trillanes while the government was represented by acting Prosecutor General Richard Anthony Fadullon and Senior Assistant State Prosecutor Juan Pedro Navera appeared for the government.
Fadullon told the court that as a result of Proclamation 572 revoking the amnesty given to Trillanes, they will revert back to the situation prior to the dismissal of the case.
Robles said Aquino’s Proclamation 75 granting amnesty to mutineers is still valid until it is judicially annuled.
The senator maintained his case has been dismissed seven years ago and can no longer be revived by a mere proclamation and a motion by the DoJ.
A certificate signed by Lt. Col. Thea Joan Andrade, chief of Discipline Law and Order Division, was submitted by Fadullon to the court stating the records in the application for amnesty were not found.
In contrast, Robles presented a video evidence showing that Trillanes has filed an application and was received by a certain Col. Josefa Berbigal but the court said the video is yet to be authenticated.
“The court needs actual application form,” the judge also said, adding this would be the primary evidence in the case.
But Robles said they could not locate the form and argued the certificate submitted by the state prosecution “does not prove that my client did not apply.”
Nobody tailing solon
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, meanwhile, reiterated that there is no arrest or “tracking” order on Trillanes, responding to the senator’s claims that plainclothes men had been tailing his car.
“No order to arrest him nor to follow him,” Lorenzana said when sought for clarification on Trillanes’ claim.
After being holed up at the Senate for over a week, Trillanes said he plans to go home but changed his mind supposedly because of the incident.
On the other hand, Lorenzana said there is no reason for Trillanes to be afraid to go home because the military will not arrest him.
“Yes, nobody will arrest him,” Lorenzana said, adding “I’ll find out who are tailing him.”
Lorenzana earlier had said Trillanes would not be arrested by the military without a warrant.
Armed Forces chief of staff Gen. Carlito Galvez Jr. also said the military will suspend court martial proceedings against the senator until the Supreme Court has resolved the matter on the revocation by President Rodrigo Duterte of the amnesty granted to Trillanes.
By Kristina Maralit with Mario J. Mallari and With Elmer N. Manuel