MANILA - The military will not arrest Senator Antonio Trillanes IV without a warrant, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said Thursday.
“Arrest? No, let the court decide that. It’s in the courts, it’s in the courts,” he told reporters in an ambush interview shortly after attending an event at the US Embassy on Thursday morning.
Trillanes is facing arrest after the Duterte administration voided the amnesty granted him in 2011 by then President Benigno Aquino III. This revived charges of coup d'etat and rebellion against him for staging uprisings in 2003 and 2007.
Duterte's proclamation came with an order for the military and police to arrest the rebel-turned-lawmaker.
The Department of Justice (DOJ) has asked two Makati Regional Trial Court (RTC) branches to issue an arrest warrant and hold departure order against Trillanes.
Makati RTC branches 148 and 150, which handled cases against Trillanes linked to the mutinies, both deferred its ruling on the pleas and gave Trillanes a chance to comment.
The Supreme Court, meanwhile, on Tuesday rejected the senator's bid for a temporary restraining order against President Rodrigo Duterte's proclamation that voided his amnesty. It said the Makati court should decide on the legality of Duterte's order.
Lorenzana, meanwhile, took the chance to explain Duterte's statement on Tuesday about supposed "rumblings" in the military ranks, which contradicted his earlier pronouncement.
The defense chief said he believes Duterte was just too comfortable with the police and military's support that he dared them to join Trillanes in an alleged ouster plot.
"Para bang... kung kayo 'yung mga nag-iisip diyan (It's like... to those who are thinking of doing that)... but he is very comfortable that he has the support of the military and the police. Dine-dare lang niya siguro (He might just be daring them)," he said.
Lorenzena maintained that persistent reports that some people are recruiting active members of the military to turn against the Duterte administration were just rumors.
He also dismissed former Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno's statement that Duterte put the military organization in a bad light by talking about rumblings within the ranks.
"I don’t share that opinion," said Lorenzana.
The Defense chief was invited at the US Embassy for the conferment of bronze replicas of the US Congressional Gold Medal on 13 Filipinos who fought in World War 2.