Trillanes claims Duterte has an “ampaw presidency”
By Raïssa Robles
In October 2000 when Ilocos Sur Governor Luis “Chavit” Singson stunned everyone by saying that his close ally President Joseph Estrada received P290 million in jueteng money, I sensed a quickening in the political landscape.
I am not the only one who feel the same kind of quickening today. A stock market analyst told me he has noticed a similar uncanny march of events after President Rodrigo Duterte personally targeted Senator Antonio Trillanes IV.
Let’s face it. How many political enemies of a sitting President become the sole subject matter of a Presidential Proclamation?
It was because of this that I felt it was time to interview Senator Trillanes lengthily. To see what he was all about. Just as I interviewed in October 2000 the sitting Vice-President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. To see what she was all about.
It was in this spirit that I talked to Trillanes. I prefaced the interview – which I videotaped in full – with a warning that I ask the most tactless questions.
Today’s Newsmaker feature on him in South China Morning Post (HK) is but a portion of that lengthy interview, which could not be used in full due to lack of space. I will write the rest in my blog.
Among those I also interviewed for this piece was retired General Jose Almonte. I thought that being the right hand man of former President Fidel V. Ramos, he would be critical of Trillanes. After all, Ramos was a key supporter of Duterte to help him win the presidency. And Duterte publicly thanked Ramos for it during his 2016 presidential inauguration.
I was very much surprised that Almonte thought differently.
I will write about the rest of my interview with him later.
Meanwhile, here’s why Trillanes became this week’s “Newsmaker” of SCMP:
HOW TO CATCH A MUTINEER: THE PHILIPPINE SENATOR SPOOKING DUTERTE
Antonio Trillanes IV led a failed military siege on former leader Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in 2003. Now a vocal critic of the firebrand president, he may find himself back behind bars sooner rather than later
BY RAISSA ROBLES
16 SEP 2018
Senator Antonio Trillanes IV is now Philippine leader Rodrigo Duterte’s public enemy number one. Last week, the president ordered his arrest to face a military court for trying to unseat a former president when he was a 32-year-old navy lieutenant. But the officers sent to detain the 47-year-old senator were stopped by the Senate president because they had no arrest warrant.
Duterte’s action may have looked sudden but it wasn’t. A year ago, the president told the nation’s top businessmen that Trillanes “is bent on destroying me”. “So I destroy him or he will destroy me. That’s just the way it is,” he said.
Duterte wants to arrest Trillanes over the 2003 siege he led on Oakwood Premier Ayala Centre (now Ascott Makati), demanding military reforms and the resignation of president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. The day-long Oakwood siege failed and Trillanes along with 323 soldiers who called themselves the Magdalo group surrendered and were jailed.
Trillanes was pardoned in 2010 by Duterte’s predecessor, president Benigno Aquino III. But Duterte, an Arroyo ally, revoked that pardon last week. The senator now is holed up in the Senate building in Manila. He said he tried to leave on Thursday but stayed after staff saw men on motorcycles following his official car.
Duterte revoked Trillanes’ pardon on the grounds his application form was missing; he never expressed guilt or apologised; and Aquino did not sign the amnesty papers. Trillanes is contesting all three grounds in court.
The hostility between Duterte and Trillanes is palpable. It started during the 2016 presidential campaign when Trillanes accused the former Davao City mayor of not declaring a secret hoard of 211 million pesos (US$3.9 million). Duterte shot back, calling Trillanes “ambitious” because he had earlier offered to be the would-be president’s running mate.
Duterte has a history of getting rid of his critics.