Robredo, Trillanes in talks on 'united' senatorial slate when Duterte ordered amnesty voidance

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 6) — Vice President Leni Robredo and Senator Antonio Trillanes IV were together, discussing a possible "united" opposition senatorial slate for next year's midterm polls when news of President Rodrigo Duterte's order to void the Senator's amnesty came out.

"Nung lumabas yung balita na ni-revoke yung kanyang amnesty, nasa meeting kami, kasama ko si Senator Trillanes, nasa meeting kami kasi tinitignan kung paano magkakaroon ng united na senatorial slate," Robredo told the media Thursday during her visit to Trillanes' office at the Senate.

[Translation: I was with in a meeting with Senator Trillanes when the news came out about the revocation of his amnesty. We were in ameeting because we were looking at how we can come up with a united senatorial slate.]

The Vice President said the order is a "clear harassment" against opposition leaders.

"Malinaw na pangha-harass ito, malinaw yung dahilan kung bakit ito ginagawa at mariin nating tinututulan yung ganitong paraan--yung paggamit ng kapangyarihan para patahimikin yung may hindi kaparehong opinyon sa pamahalaan," she said.

[Translation: It is clearly a harassment, the reason why it was done is clear and we vehemently oppose this way of using power to silence those who have different opinion in the government.]

Instead of "silencing the opposition," Robredo said the administration should use its power to address other pressing issues such as the rising prices of goods.

"Maraming problema ngayon ang ating bansa, napakataas ng ating inflation rate. Kakagaling ko lang sa Zamboanga kahapon at yung reklamao ng mga tao dun yung grabeng presyo ng bigas, nagrereklamo yung mga tao na kamoteng kahoy na yung kinakain nila, hindi na sila nakakain ng bigas. Dapat sana yung kapangyarihan ng gobyerno dito ginagamit hindi sa pagsisilensyo ng opposisyon," she said.

[Translation: We have a lot of problems in the country today, the inflation is very high. In fact, I was in Zamboanga yesterday and the complaint of the people there was the high cost of rice, they are complaining that they just eat kamoteng kahoy instead. The government should use its power in resolving such problem, not in silencing the opposition.]

Although they belong two different political parties, Robredo said she symphatizes with the Senator.

The Vice President is part of the Liberal Party while Trillanes is a member of the Nacionalista Party. The two even competed for the vice presidency during the 2016 elections under the said parties.

"Alam ko si Senator Trillanes kaya namang depensahan ang sarili, yung sakin lang malaman nya lang na hindi man kami magkapareho ng partido alam naming mali ang ginagawa sa kanya at nakikiisa kami," she said.

Translation: I know Senator Trillanes can defend himself, and although we belong to different political parties, we know that what the government is doing to him is wrong, so we symphatize with him.

Despite the apparent persecution, Robredo said the opposition remains uncowed and is now even more united.

"'Yung nangyayari kay Senator Trillanes lalo nya pang yinu-unify ang opposition, lalo pang binibigyan ng dahilan para lalong magkaisa kaya ito maling paraan ito," she said. Robredo added that at a time of crisis in the country, Filipinos should unite to ease peoples' difficulties and not focus on harassing the opposition.

[Translation:What's happening to Senator Trillanes makes the opposition even more unified, it gives us more reasons to unite that's why it's a wrong way.]

In an order published Tuesday on the advertisement section of Manila Times, Duterte announced that he was voiding the clemency granted to Trillanes for purportedly failing to apply for amnesty and for refusing to admit his guilt.

The Senator received amnesty in 2011 from then President Benigno Aquino III for his involvement in three coups attempts in 2003, 2006, and 2007.

Trillanes said he applied for the amnesty and admitted guilt, calling Duterte's order bogus. On Thursday, his lawyers took to the Supreme Court to question the President's proclamation.