Philippine senator critical of Duterte arrested

Philippines senator Antonio Trillanes leaves a police station after being arrested in Manila

Senator Antonio Trillanes was arrested on charges of rebellion outside of the Senate building in the Philippine capital Manila hours after a warrant for his capture was issued by a court.

"Senator Antonio Trillanes IV has once again played the victim card, resorting to ad hominem attacks against the President", Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a statement.

"This is a debacle and a defeat of democracy", Trillanes, a former navy officer, who accompanied arresting officers into a vehicle and was taken to a police station to be photographed and fingerprinted before posting bail, told reporters.

Judge Elmo Alameda of Branch 150 issued a warrant of arrest on Tuesday but set the bail at P200,000 - the same amount granted to Trillanes in 2010.

Under Duterte, another opposition senator has been jailed on illegal drug charges, a critical Supreme Court chief justice has been ousted by fellow judges, and foreign critics, including an Australian nun, have been barred from entering the Philippines or threatened with deportation. "This (case) has nothing to do with anything except for the vengeance of Duterte and his underlings".

Trillanes received clemency after involvement in a failed 2003 coup and a mutiny four years later, both aimed at overthrowing then-President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, an ally of Duterte who is now lower house speaker.

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He has been holed up there since September 4 when President Rodrigo Duterte's Proclamation No. 572, voiding his amnesty, was published on newspapers.

Police arrested de Lima on drug-related charges more than 18 months ago, following an investigation she launched into alleged extrajudicial killings during the drug war. "Trillanes is a threat as I am a threat, as free speech and democracy are a threat to Duterte", she wrote TIME from her cell days after the president revoked his amnesty.

Trillanes has strongly denied the president's claims and has provided news reports and defence department documents to counter them.

Human Rights Watch said Trillanes's 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'".

The prosecution led by Acting Prosecutor General Richard Anthony Fadullon presented a certification dated August 30, 2018, issued and signed by one Lt. Gen. Thea Joan Andrade of the Armed Forces of the Philippines-Discipline, Law and Order Division to prove that the senator failed to apply for an amnesty.

"Trillanes' arrest today sends a chilling effect among other critics of the Duterte administration", said Carlos Conde, a researcher at the rights group's Asia office. Trillanes and opposition groups have dismissed the claim as a lie and asked Duterte to focus instead on addressing poverty, inflation, rice shortages, traffic jams and a decline in the value of the peso currency.

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