PHILIPPINE leader Rodrigo Duterte’s fiercest critic in Congress has been arrested after the president revoked his 2011 amnesty for a failed coup attempt and revived rebellion charges against him.

Senator Antonio Trillanes IV walked out of the Senate, where he has taken refuge for weeks, and was taken by police to their headquarters in Makati city, where his fingerprints and mugshot were taken.

After being booked by police, he was escorted to a nearby court and posted bail, all while being trailed by a host of journalists.

“Democracy lost today,” he said to reporters shortly before his arrest. “Darkness and evil prevailed in

our country.

He added: “Whatever happens in the future will be in the hands of the Filipino people.”

Known for outbursts against his critics, Duterte has long expressed anger against Trillanes, who has accused him of large-scale corruption, involvement in illegal drugs and extrajudicial killings in an anti-drug crackdown that has left thousands of suspects dead since he took office in 2016.

The president has denied the allegations.

Trillanes, a former navy officer, was jailed for more than seven years for involvement in at least three army uprisings.

One of which, in 2003, was a mutiny against then president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo when he and other young officers rigged part of a road in the Makati financial district with bombs and took over an upscale residential building.

After being given amnesty under Duterte’s predecessor, Benigno Aquino III, Trillanes successfully petitioned two Philippine courts to dismiss rebellion and coup cases, allowing him to subsequently run for public office.

Duterte said he voided Trillanes’ amnesty last month because the senator had failed to file a formal amnesty request and acknowledge his guilt.

The senator has strongly denied the president’s allegations and

has presented news reports and defence department documents to counter them.

The Department of Justice asked two courts to issue warrants for Trillanes’s arrest and resume criminal proceedings against him. One of the courts issued the arrest warrant on Tuesday.

Aside from the rebellion and coup-related charges in the two courts, Duterte has also ordered the military to resume an inquiry into the senator’s role in the mutinies.

Legal experts and the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, the country’s largest lawyers’ organisation, have expressed alarm over the legalcase brought against Trillanes for offences that were cancelled by the amnesty in 2011.

The lawyers’ group said that the move “runs roughshod over the constitutional guarantee against double jeopardy” – requiring a person to answer twice for the

same offence.

The president has also accused Trillanes, without offering evidence, of plotting with other opposition politicians, including the Liberal Party and several leftist groups, to oust him.

Trillanes and opposition groups have dismissed the allegation as completely untrue.

They have also asked the president to turn his attention instead towards addressing poverty, inflation, rice shortages, traffic congestion and a decline in the value of the country’s peso currency.

Human Rights Watch commented on the case, saying that Trillanes’s arrest “is part of the persecution of critics of the Duterte administration, the latest in the relentless campaign to silence those who dared to challenge the president’s murderous ‘drug war’”.

Under Duterte, another opposition senator has been jailed on illegal drug charges, a critical Supreme Court chief justice has been ousted by fellow judges.

Foreign critics, including an Australian nun, have also been either barred from entering the Philippines or threatened with deportation.