President Rodrigo Duterte of Philippines on Tuesday dared military officers, allegedly disgruntled over his order to revoke an amnesty granted to an opposition senator, to launch a coup against him.
Duterte said he was not afraid of coup rumours, which have been circulating since he voided the amnesty of Antonio Trillanes and ordered the senator’s prosecution for failed coup attempts in 2003 and 2007 against former president Gloria Arroyo.
“You don’t have to force me,” he said in a televised conversation with presidential legal adviser, Salvador Panelo.
“I am challenging you now. I’m tired of threats. Do it now. Don’t wait any longer. If you will launch a coup d’etat, then launch a coup d’etat now,” he added.
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Duterte said he has also received information that if a coup attempt would not succeed, he would instead be assassinated.
“I would be happy to die in your hands. At least I don’t die from an illness. What is a bullet?
“The pain will not last longer than one second,’’ he said.
The challenge came as the Supreme Court denied Trillanes’ petition to stop Duterte’s order revoking the amnesty granted to him in 2010 by former president Benigno Aquino.
Duterte signed a proclamation on August 31 voiding the amnesty, saying Trillanes “did not comply with the minimum requirements to qualify.”
The Supreme Court noted on Tuesday that there was “no extreme and urgent necessity for the court to issue an injunctive relief,” after Duterte stressed that the senator will not be arrested without a warrant.
Maria Guerra, a spokeswoman for the high tribunal, said “there is no extreme and urgent necessity for the court to issue an injunctive relief considering that the respondents have acknowledged Senator Trillanes’ right to due process.’’
The opposition politician asked the Supreme Court to issue a temporary restraining order against Duterte’s proclamation.
He has been holed up in the Senate building since last week to avoid arrest.
Traditionally, a Philippine lawmaker cannot be arrested while inside congressional buildings as a sign of respect for the co-equal branch of government.