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Senate minority wants probe into Duterte’s ‘fraudulent, erroneous’ voiding of Trillanes’ amnesty

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By Xave Gregorio

Members of the Senate minority block are seeking a probe into the “fraudulent and erroneous” basis of President Rodrigo Duterte’s voiding of opposition Senator Antonio Trillanes IV’s amnesty.

Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon and Senators Paolo Benigno “Bam” Aquino IV, Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan, Risa Hontiveros and Leila de Lima filed Senate Resolution No. 887 on Tuesday (September 11) seeking a Senate inquiry into Duterte’s Proclamation No. 572, which declared void from the start Trillanes’ amnesty.

“There is an imperative need to immediately look into this matter to ensure that the administration is not using and/or abusing the awesome powers of the Presidency and this control over the military and the police to instill fear among the critics of the administration,” they said in their proposed resolution.

The opposition senators also said that Duterte’s proclamation is not only fraudulent and erroneous, but is also “apparently being used to silence Senator Trillanes.”

They noted that the President and Armed Forces spokesperson Edgard Arevalo both point to Solicitor General Jose Calida as the brains behind the voiding of Trillanes’ amnesty, who was being probed by the senator over allegedly anomalous deals his family’s security firm scored with government agencies.

“Due to the issuance of said proclamation, Senator Trillanes is effectively deprived of his liberty and is under constant threat of being arrested when in truth and in fact there is no basis for an arrest, as there is no arrest warrant and there are no cases field against him justifying his arrest,” the minority senators said.

Trillanes has been holed up in his office for a week following the Duterte’s issuance of Proclamation No. 572, which also ordered that he be arrested by the police and the military.

The senator has showed media documents which counter Duterte’s claim that he has not applied for amnesty and that he has not admitted guilt to involvement in two mutinies against former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

Opposition lawmakers in the House of Representatives have also filed a resolution last week expressing the “collective sentiment” of the chamber “denouncing the baseless, unlawful, and improvident” voiding of Trillanes’ amnesty.