Trillanes rejects court martial jurisdiction
MANILA- (UPDATE) On President Rodrigo Duterte's orders, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) said Friday it was convening the general court martial following the nullification of Senator Antonio Trillanes IV's amnesty.
Military spokesperson Col. Edgard Arevalo reiterated Friday that the AFP remains committed to the chain of command and rule of law.
"The AFP is on the process of constituting the General Court Martial in compliance with the mandated task under Presidential Proclamation 572," he said in a statement.
"The AFP as an institution is united and committed to the chain of command and the rule of law," he added.
Trillanes is facing possible arrest after Duterte withdrew his amnesty and ordered the restoration of criminal and administrative charges against the lawmaker.
Trillanes however insisted that a court martial no longer has jurisdiction over him since he is already a civilian.
"They can convene the court martial all they want pero hindi na ako subject sa ganiyan. Alam ng buong mundo sibilyan na ako, senador na ako," he told reporters Friday.
(I am no longer subject to that. The whole world knows I am a civilian, a senator.)
On Wednesday, Trillanes showed reporters a copy of his ipso facto resignation dated May 2007, his statement of service and service clearance issued July 2007, and his certificate of last payment issued August 2007 to prove he was no longer active in military service.
Former President Benigno Aquino III had granted Trillanes amnesty and several others for mounting uprisings in 2003 and 2007 against the administration of then-President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
The former Navy lieutenant was facing trial for non-bailable coup d'état before a Makati court and a separate trial before the military tribunal for mutiny or sedition, among others.
Arevalo added that the military recognizes Trillanes' plea to the Supreme Court to block Duterte's nullification of his amnesty.
"The AFP is mindful that Sen. Trillanes IV has already filed his petition before the Supreme Court. We will defer commenting on the merits of the case in deference to the sub judice rule," he said.
Trillanes said he was staying at the Senate and he expected the military to "stay true" to its commitment not be apprehended while inside the legislature's halls.
Earlier this week, Trillanes said he hopes soldiers would be more discerning in following orders from the commander in chief.
"Bigyan natin sila ng benefit of the doubt na the AFP as an institution will do the right thing," he said.
(Let's give the AFP the benefit of the doubt that as an institution, they will do the right thing.)