Trillanes ups ante, says Duterte showing signs of ‘meltdown’
Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV, the toughest critic of President Rodrigo Duterte, further escalated his attacks on the President, saying Mr. Duterte had shown psychological incapacity to govern after telling soldiers to challenge the senator to a gun duel.
Reacting to Trillanes’ claim that one of the President’s son, Paolo, and his son-in-law, Mans Carpio, were involved in smuggling and kept unexplained wealth, Mr. Duterte described the senator as an “egotist coward” and a bully preying on hapless resource persons in Senate investigations.
In a speech at the Araw ng Digos celebration in Digos City, the President said soldiers, who would fall victims to Trillanes’ bullying, should stand up to the senator by challenging him to a gun duel.
Trillanes, in a statement, said that Mr. Duterte’s reaction showed a meltdown on the President’s part.
“I am now seriously concerned that he doesn’t have the psychological capacity to govern anymore and that he needs psychiatric help right away,” Trillanes, a former mutineer, said in his statement.
The President raged at the senator for alleging that his son, Paolo, who is vice mayor of Davao City, was a member of a Chinese drug triad and was behind the smuggling of P6.4 billion worth of “shabu” (crystal meth) through the Port of Manila.
At a Senate hearing on the smuggling case on Thursday, Trillanes raised the possibility of Paolo’s membership in the Chinese crime syndicate and asked the vice mayor if he had a tattoo on his back, which Trillanes said was the mark of a Chinese triad member.
Paolo admitted he had but, invoking his right to privacy, refused to remove his shirt to show it when Trillanes asked him to.
In Digos on Friday, Mr. Duterte said he would not allow Trillanes to throw “garbage” allegations against him and his family, brandishing a pistol tucked in his waist in the middle of his speech.
Trillanes said the President’s response showed that he was in panic already because illegal activities involving him and his family were being exposed. “He is talking nonsense,” Trillanes said. “Filipinos should be afraid of this kind of President,” he said.
Trillanes also asked the President’s security escorts to remove the gun in Mr. Duterte’s possession.
The Presidential Security Group, Trillanes said, “needs to take away his pistol before he hurts himself or another innocent person.” —With a report from Jigger Jerusalem
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