Philippine opposition Senator Antonio Trillanes IV is greeted by supporters as he continues to be holed up in the Philippine Senate. Image Credit: AP

Manila: Senator Antonio Trillanes IV was freed on bail Tuesday afternoon hours after he was arrested for his role in the 2003, 2006 and 2007 failed power grabs against the government of then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

“Democracy was lost today,” the 47-year-old Trillanes said following his arrest by the Makati City police on Tuesday afternoon.

Earlier in the day, Judge Elmo Alameda of the Makati City Regional Trial Court Branch 150 granted an appeal by the Department of Justice to arrest Trillanes. The Senator had been the subject of Proclamation No. 572 issued by President Rodrigo Duterte last August.

In that proclamation, it was stated that an amnesty given by then President Benigno Aquino III to Trillanes was void ab initio or invalid from the start because he did not admit guilt or wrongdoing for his role in the three failed power grabs.

The Senator was a former navy official with a rank of Senior Grade Lieutenant (equivalent to the rank of Captain in the Army) when he played a role in the 2003 Oakwood Mutiny as well as similar other power grabs in 2006 and 2007.

Alameda, in his decision to grant the justice department order to arrest Trillanes, said the Senator needs to prove to the court that he had indeed complied with the minimum requirements of the amnesty extended to him, which is admission of guilt.

“Senator Trillanes failed to convince this Court that he indeed complied with the minimum requirement to personally fill-up and file the official amnesty application form as required in Section 5,6, and 11 of DND (Department of National Defence) Amnesty Committee Circular Dated December 21, 2010,” Alameda stressed.

“Proclamation No. 572 was precisely issued to rectify the erroneous grant of amnesty to accused to Trillanes due to his failure to comply with the basis minimum requirements of filing his application and the admission stated in the said application of his guilt of the acts/crimes covered by the amnesty,” Alameda said.

Following his arrest and being booked for rebellion by the Makati City police authorities, he was allowed to post the P200,000 (Dhs 13,595) bail required for his temporary liberty.

Speaking to reporters, Trillanes said his case will be a test case whether “democracy and the judicial system works in the country.”

For its part, the palace said it leaves the matter in the hands of the judiciary.

“The court has spoken,” said Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque.

“As the President has said, we will respect the decision of the judiciary. Whatever Senator Antonio Trillanes IV has to say can be addressed to the court. Let us stop the drama by press conferences and allow the legal process to take its course,” Roque said.

Trillanes after fighting the government of Arroyo, gravitated to the administration of Aquino and is now among the leading critics of Duterte.

In 2016, he ran for vice president and lost. He ran under the banner of the Magdalo, a political party led by former coup plotters.