Duterte stays loyal to Arroyo but says Trillanes’s move was ‘understandable’

Nov. 30, 2007

By Cheryll D. Fiel
Davao Today

DAVAO CITY — At the height of the stand-off at the Manila Peninsula Hotel, Mayor Rodrigo Duterte gave President Gloria Arroyo his all out loyalty but said, in a separate interview, that he understood the exasperation of Senator Antonio Trillanes.

Duterte said the President called him at the height of the tension in Makati, where Senator Antonio Trillanes IV and Brigadier General Danilo Lim called for the President to resign after walking out of the coup hearing.

“She asked me how we are doing here, and if she still has my support, Duterte told reporters. I said, Yes Ma’am.”

Duterte was at the Grand Men Seng Hotel, where military, police and local government officials gathered for the yearend meeting of the Regional and City Peace and Order Council when the quelled mutiny was taking place in Makati.

Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte during the interview with the press at the Grand Men Seng yesterday. He is flanked by Lt. General Cardozo Luna, commander of the Eastern Mindanao Command (EastMinCom) of the Philippine Army to his left, and Philippine National Police (PNP) Regional Director Andres Caro to his right. (davaotoday.com photo by Cheryll D. Fiel)

The police in the region declared a heightened alert after learning of the incident. “There might be some lawless elements who might take advantage of the situation,” said Philippine National Police (PNP) regional director Andres Caro.

Caro called the Makati incident a “drama” which should not affect them all.

“The police in the National Capital Region (NCR) are now attending to it. We will just continue doing our job and see to it that the region is secured from criminals and terrorists,” Caro said.

Together with personalities from civil society groups and the church, Trillanes and Lim were holed up at the Manila Peninsula Hotel after marching to the Makati streets. They got arrested later in the day.

Following calls of Trillanes and Lim to withdraw support from the President, the chief of various units of the Armed Forces of the country assured the public of the loyalties of the elements in their commands. .

The generals of the two major military commands based in Davao City and the police in the region followed suit, declaring their loyalty to President Arroyo.

Lt. General Cardozo Luna, commander of the Eastern Mindanao Command (EastMinCom), said that the 40,000 troops in the region and the elements of the navy and the air force stayed loyal to the chain of command.

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