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Anong ginagawa niyo diyan? Senators concerned with police, military presence in Senate compound

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By Xave Gregorio

Senators are concerned with the presence of police and military men in the Senate compound who are out to arrest opposition Senator Antonio Trillanes IV even without a warrant of arrest.

Senator Francis “Chiz” Escudero questioned the “militarization” of the Senate despite the assurance of Trillanes that he would surrender once a court issues an arrest warrant.

“Siyempre concern ‘yun dahil nami-miltarize ang institusyon at establisyimento ng Senado na hindi naman siguro dapat, dahil una, nagsabi naman si Senator Trillanes na kapag may warrant na in-issue sa kanya, siya’y sasama’t hindi lalaban. Pangalawa, wala pa naman silang warrant na pinapakita so hindi ko alam kung ano at bakit sila nandito,” Escudero said.

Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto also wonders why the police and military, who on Tuesday (September 4) numbered around 40, continue to linger in the Senate compound.

“From what I know, there is no warrant of arrest issued by any court, so what are they doing there? Diba? There’s no warrant of arrest,” Recto said.

But Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto III is unbothered.

“They are not inside our premises. In fact t can be considered as additional security. Besides they are just following orders,” Sotto told Politiko in a text message.

Asked if they should be told to leave, Sotto said, “They are just following orders. No need to worry.”

Authorities have been wanting to arrest Trillanes since the publication of President Rodrigo Duterte’s Proclamation No. 572 which declared void from the start the amnesty granted to the senator.

Since then, Trillanes has holed up in the Senate, with the blessing of his fellow senators, to evade arrest. He said he would stay in the chamber as he tries to challenge Duterte’s proclamation before the Supreme Court.

But for Recto, police and military could not arrest Trillanes even if he steps outside of the Senate premises.

“There is no warrant of arrest. The Makati RTC (Regional Trial Court) did not issue a warrant, so how can he be arrested outside of the Senate?” Recto said.

The Makati RTC Branch 148 did not issue an arrest warrant against Trillanes and instead gave him five days to comment on the petition of the Department of Justice for an alias arrest warrant against the opposition senator.