The order for Trillanes’ arrest stems from Duterte’s voiding an amnesty earlier this month, which had been granted to the senator, an ex-navy officer, eight years ago for his role in two coup attempts in the mid-2000s.
“They twisted the law so our democracy and institutions failed,” Trillanes said. “This (case) has nothing to do with anything except for the vengeance of Duterte and his underlings.”
Duterte issued a decree earlier this month ordering Trillanes’s arrest on allegations he did not complete the requirements of filing an official application for amnesty and admitting guilt.
The case has prompted concern in the Philippines, where critics have questioned whether presidents have the power to undo amnesties, a repeatedly used tool in a nation plagued by insurgencies and military rebellion.
“The arrest… is part of the persecution of critics of the Duterte administration, the latest in the relentless campaign to silence those who dared to challenge the president’s murderous ‘drug war’,” said Carlos Conde of Human Rights Watch Philippines.
Bigger legal trouble could still await Trillanes because he could be arrested on another charge, stemming from a separate coup attempt, that does not have the possibility of bail.