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Philippine court to hear evidence against anti-Duterte Senator Antonio Trillanes

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Philippine court to hear evidence against anti-Duterte Senator Antonio Trillanes

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Photo: Mark Cristino/EPA

Today, Filipino Senator Antonio Trillanes IV will be tried in Makati City court as an ongoing case of “rebellion charges”.

Trillanes is an outspoken opponent of Filipino President Rodrigo Duterte, who has been criticised for an aggressive campaign against drug criminals since his inauguration in 2016. Previously, Trillanes had been detained for a failed coup d’état attempt in 2007, for which he was granted amnesty in 2011 under former President Benigno Aquino III. Duterte reopened the case in 2016 by issuing a proclamation that voided this provision by exploiting Trillanes’ admission of guilt and alleged failure to comply fully with the amnesty application. Mr Trillanes was issued a warrant for arrest last week.

In the likely event that Trillanes will plead guilty and face imprisonment, expect civil society groups to protest with caution. The Duterte administration’s defeat will further consolidate its power because it will be putting an end to a decade-old conflict that contested it. The dispute over his current arrest demonstrates tension between the Department of Justice and Mr Duterte’s agenda to silence powerful opposition and will likely further bring down his diminishing popularity amidst criticism for his failure to tackle increasing inflation and prices on basic goods.

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