MANILA- Senator Antonio Trillanes IV on Saturday said he has nothing against the people of Davao City after he was labeled "persona non-grata" in President Rodrigo Duterte's hometown.
In an interview on DZMM, Trillanes said he views the people of Davao City as "victims" as well and alleged that the coastal commercial center could have been more progressive if it was under the leadership of different officials.
"I have nothing against the people of Davao. I believe they are victims also. Na-imagine niyo 20 years under Duterte tyinaga nila yan. Baka mas progresibo pa 'yung city nila kung iba 'yung naupo diyan so ganun na lang po 'yan, 'yan 'yung mga halal nila," he said.
President Duterte was mayor of the southern city for 22 years.
His eldest daughter, Sara Duterte, succeeded him while his son Paolo Duterte served as vice mayor but left his post late last year.
Trillanes and Filipino-American philanthropist Loida Nicolas-Lewis were barred from entering Davao city by local officials.
The council took into account Trillanes' repeated claim that the city is allegedly the most dangerous area in the Philippines, said Davao City vice mayor Bernard Al-ag.
The senator said that, although the declaration was made by city officials, he believes that the Duterte family was behind the move.
" 'Yan pong ginawa ng city council ng Davao ay prerogative nila bilang elected city officials pero alam naman ng lahat na ito ay rubber-stamped ng mga Duterte. Hindi 'yan sila gagawa ng walang basbas ng mga Duterte," he said.