MANILA (UPDATE) - Vice President Leni Robredo on Thursday said President Rodrigo Duterte’s order to nullify the amnesty granted opposition Senator Antonio Trillanes IV was a move meant to silence his critics.
“Malinaw na panghaharass ito,” Robredo told Senate reporters.
(This is clearly harassment.)
“Ginagamit yung lakas, ginagamit yung kapangyarihan para i-silence yung opposition,” said the Vice President, leader of the opposition.
(The administration is using its force and power to silence the opposition.)
Trillanes is the second senator ordered arrested under the Duterte administration. Senator Leila De Lima, another vocal critic of the President, was apprehended in February 2017 for drug charges she decried as "political persecution."
“Nakakabahala ito hindi lang para kay Senator Trillanes pero para sa lahat sa atin na mayroong pagpuna at may hindi gusto tungkol sa gobyerno,” Robredo said.
(This is worrisome not just for Senator Trillanes but for all of us who point out or have something we do not like about the government.)
“Sana hindi ito maging dahilan para matakot ang ating mga kababayan, bagkus sana maging dahilan ito para mas magkaisa tayo,” Robredo said.
(I hope this would not be a reason for our countrymen to cower in fear, instead I hope this would be a reason for us to be more unified.)
Malacañang earlier said there was nothing political about the proclamation nullifying Trillanes' amnesty, asserting that it was void from the start for his failure to admit guilt in leading uprisings in 2003 and 2007.
Robredo visited Trillanes at the Senate after dropping by the office of Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon, her colleague in the opposition Liberal Party.
Trillanes has been holed up in his Senate office since Tuesday after Duterte’s Proclamation No. 572 was made public, voiding his 2011 amnesty and directing police and the military to arrest him.
Trillanes, a former Navy lieutenant, and other junior military officers twice mounted military uprisings against former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo over alleged corruption.
The senator has filed a petition at the Supreme Court to fight the proclamation.