The President’s challenge
It remains to be seen just how far President Rodrigo Duterte would push and challenge the military to remove him from office after he ordered the revocation of the amnesty given to Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV and ordering his arrest, only to hold off until the courts rule on his order.
The public can only take the word of Armed Forces Chief of Staff Gen. Carlito Galvez Jr. that the military remains unflinchingly loyal to the Constitution. That Galvez himself was a beneficiary of an amnesty granted by former president Fidel V. Ramos for his role in the 1989 failed coup against the late president Corazon Aquino may serve as a reminder to him of Trillanes’s own predicament.
As it is, the senator’s fate hangs by a thread, unreliable at that ever since the administration succeeded in replacing a chief justice with one perceived to be favorable to them.
Whether or not the two lower courts in Makati City rule for or against the motion of the Department of Justice (DOJ) to validate the arrest order issued by President Duterte on Trillanes, the fact is that institutions and the Constitution itself is being stretched to its limits no thanks to the President’s determination to shut up Trillanes or weaken him to the point of inutility.
The President’s challenge to the military to oust him that he aired in his “conversation” with presidential legal counsel Salvador Panelo may be intended to rock the boat and test the military’s resolve to stay away from political clashes in the national government.
But though it is not just about the president’s confidence or insecurity on the military’s loyalty to him, the fact that he aired the challenge on live TV speaks volumes on his awareness of deep ties shared by the country’s finest with each other that doesn’t dissipate when one of their own is serving in government.
The President’s challenge merely acknowledged his appreciation of how crucial the military’s role is not only in support of his administration but how it can end his tenure in office provided it has impetus to do so such as popular support on its side.
The military’s support of his administration is such that not even his fiercest attack dogs and his troll army in social media can afford to provoke or insult in public.
The military had once served as the mailed fist of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos who foisted martial law over the country decades ago. We hope they learned from this past experience and make good on their vow to uphold the Constitution and the rule of law.
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