Duterte withdraws amnesty for opposition senator, orders arrest

Published: September 04, 2018 13:55:03 | Updated: September 11, 2018 21:27:12


Opposition senator Antonio Trillanes - Reuters photo

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday withdrew amnesty for an opposition senator involved in a failed coup 15 years ago and ordered his arrest, in what would be the second detention of a lawmaker critical of him.

Antonio Trillanes, Duterte’s most vocal opponent, has accused him of hiding wealth, and has supported petitions to the International Criminal Court (ICC) seeking his indictment over the alleged murders of thousands of suspected criminals and drug dealers.

An executive order printed in the pro-Duterte Manila Times newspaper said clemency for the former military serviceman had been voided because he fell short of the minimum requirements, including admitting his guilt.

In 2010, then President Benigno Aquino gave Trillanes amnesty for involvement in a failed 2003 coup and a mutiny four years later, both aimed at overthrowing then-President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, a Duterte ally, reports Reuters.

Trillanes called the executive order “stupid” and said he would not resist arrest or flee.

“It’s a clear case of political persecution,” he told reporters. “Mr Duterte is a dictator. He does not respect institutions. That is why we’re like this: ordinary people are killed and critics are jailed.”

Trillanes is the latest of Duterte’s detractors to be targeted, accused of offences opponents call trumped up or technicalities.

They include politicians, lawyers, a reporter, a judge, a United Nations rapporteur and even an elderly nun and a campaigner for indigenous peoples’ rights.

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