Senate to prevent Trillanes' arrest amid reports he may be apprehended

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 6) — Senate President Tito Sotto stressed Thursday that authorities would be prevented from entering the Senate building to arrest embattled Senator Antonio Trillanes IV using a warrant from a court-martial.

He made the statement as unverified reports swirled that Trillanes would be arrested Thursday evening or early Friday morning.

The rumor grew stronger when the camp of detained Senator Leila de Lima asked members of the media and "supporters of democracy" to be on standby as their presence may be needed at the Senate.

"We are still verifying reports, but supporters on scene assess that Senator Trillanes is highly vulnerable to an illegal arrest tonight until Sunday, when the Senate is not in session and very few people are there," the message further said.

Both de Lima and Trillanes are staunch critics of President Rodrigo Duterte.

In an interview on CNN Philippines, Trillanes said he has been expecting to be arrested since the proclamation voiding his amnesty was released.

"Ever since na nag-stay ako dito ine-expect ko na any time ako ay aarestuhin, but ang sa akin ngayon ang estado may agreement na walang arrest na mangyayari within Senate premises," he said.

(Translation: Ever since I started staying here I have been expecting to be arrested any time, but the government has agreed that there will be no arrest within Senate premises)

"I'm just holding on to the facts that we have. If hindi yan galing sa civilian court, base sa agreement ng mga senador hindi ito iho-honor kung ang hawak lang ang yung proclamation itself," he added.

(Translation: If that does not come from a civilian court, based on the agreement among Senators, the arrest will not be honored if what they only have is the proclamation itself)

Meanwhile, Trillanes' lawyer, Atty. Rey Robles, said arresting the senator without a warrant was illegal. He also pointed out that there was no court martial case against his client.

'Kung gagawin po nila yan (pag-aresto kay Trillanes), magiging illegal po yan at mananagot sila sa batas," he said.

[Translation: If they do that, it will be illegal and they will be answerable to the law.]

Robles noted that Trillanes left military service in 2007 and was granted amnesty in 2011.

A court-martial case against Trillanes in 2003 for conduct unbecoming of a gentleman was only punishable by discharge from service, Robles said. Another court-martial case was filed in 2010 for mutiny but by then Trillanes was already a civilian and no longer covered by military court, he added.

He said the military came out with an order in 2007 approving Trillanes' lawful discharge from the military.

"Ano ibabalik nila si Sen. Trillanes para i-discharge nila?," Robles added.

He said if Trillanes is arrested by the military or the police "sinasantabi na nila ang ating batas, ang ating Saligang Batas.".

[Translation:They would be violating our laws and the Constitution.]

He went on to say that he hoped the rumors of the Senator's arrest would remain rumors.

"We are relying on the professionalism of the men and women of the AFP," he said.

Meanwhile, Special Assistant to the President  Bong Go said Duterte would return to the country from Jordan earlier than schedule.

In a message, Go told CNN Philippines the President would arrive in Davao City on Saturday at 9:30 a.m. He was originally scheduled to be back on Sunday.

This is a developing story.