Soon after Rodrigo Duterte assumed office in 2016, he made the rounds of military camps. Nothing uncommon for a new President to do.
However, he started telling them that if they weren’t happy with him anymore, they should just replace him with a military junta.
Perhaps it was just Duterte’s way of sweet-talking the soldiers. He did not really mean what he said.
Recently, though, he made a move, apparently without even consulting the top brass of the military. He gave orders to arrest and court martial the former junior naval officer-turned-senator Antonio Trillanes. For a 15-year-old crime.
I had never ever interviewed Trillanes.
I had specialized in interviewing Muslim rebels.
This story, therefore, is my first ever interview with him. The story below is the first of two features that I am doing on the topic.
Well, because Duterte has targeted him. After Senator Leila de Lima, Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno and Vice President Leni Robredo, Trillanes is next.
The President has belittled Trillanes’ influence inside the military. I decided to fact-check this.
Here’s my story published just now in South China Morning Post (HK):
Duterte’s plan for retrial of senator over failed coups ‘could split Philippine military’
Analyst suggests Philippine Armed Forces are divided over support for Antonio Trillanes, who has hidden in his office since president ordered his arrest and court martial for attempts to overthrow a previous government
PUBLISHED : Sunday, 09 September, 2018, 5:58pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 09 September, 2018, 6:21pm
President Rodrigo Duterte’s order to arrest Philippine opposition senator Antonio Trillanes and try him in a military court for crimes he has already been pardoned for could split the military, a defence and security analyst warned.
The military will split” if Duterte pushes the Armed Forces of the Philippines to court martial Trillanes for taking over the upscale Oakwood hotel in 2003 and the Manila Peninsula hotel in 2007, said military historian Jose Antonio Custodio.
Custodio, who once worked in the military’s planning office, said if Duterte forces the issue, “there would be factions which would agree with him and factions which would not agree with him”, as well as a “faction that is not necessarily pro-Trillanes but pro-institution”.
He noted there is “some hostility toward Trillanes” among his seniors because they feel he disrespected his former superior, Armed Forces chief Angelo Reyes, during a Senate hearing. However, Trillanes still has support from his Philippine Military Academy batch and younger soldiers.
To read the rest, please click on this link.