MANILA — President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines on Tuesday challenged military veterans and serving officers who oppose him to mount a rebellion, a day after the head of the armed forces warned soldiers not to take sides in the president’s standoff with a senator he has threatened to arrest.
The senator, Antonio Trillanes, a former naval officer who is a fierce critic of Mr. Duterte, took part in two brief military uprisings against one of Mr. Duterte’s predecessors more than 10 years ago. Last week, after Mr. Duterte revoked an amnesty the senator had received for those incidents and ordered his arrest, Mr. Trillanes said he had “across the board” support in the military but that he was trying to prevent a revolt.
“I am challenging Magdalo to start now,” Mr. Duterte said Tuesday, referring to Mr. Trillanes’s political party, which is led mostly by former military officers. “Just make sure that the soldiers and the generals are yours. Let’s show Filipinos what you really want.”
Mr. Duterte’s televised statement came hours after the Supreme Court ruled on a petition from Mr. Trillanes, who has been holed up at his Senate office for more than a week, to quash the arrest order. It declined to do so, instead referring the matter to lower courts.
But it also said it had taken note of a pledge by the armed forces and the police not to arrest the senator unless a warrant was issued by a court, rather than the president. The senator’s lawyer welcomed the ruling.
The Philippines has a long history of military unrest. On Tuesday, Manila, the capital, was gripped by rumors of unusual troop movements in the hours leading up to the Supreme Court’s ruling, but the military categorically denied it.
Mr. Duterte had scheduled a news conference for Tuesday afternoon, but he instead went on live television for a one-on-one conversation with a legal adviser. He dared those in the military who supported Mr. Trillanes and former President Benigno S. Aquino III, who granted Mr. Trillanes’s amnesty in 2010, to attempt a revolt.
Mr. Duterte also claimed, without offering evidence, to have a military intelligence report alleging that Mr. Trillanes had been conspiring with communist insurgents to oust him. He said the report was from a “foreign country sympathetic to us.”
Mr. Trillanes has been one of Mr. Duterte’s most prominent critics, assailing the president for his violent war on the drug trade, which has left thousands of Filipinos dead. Opposition lawmakers said the president’s decision to unilaterally revoke the senator’s amnesty and order his arrest was the latest example of Mr. Duterte’s tightening grip on the Philippines.
On Monday, Gen. Carlito G. Galvez Jr., the top commander of the country’s 130,000-member military, denied that there had been “rumblings” of discontent within the force.
“I am nonetheless reminding every soldier, airman, sailor and marine not to meddle or take part in partisan politics,” General Galvez said. “Our loyalty is to the Constitution.”
While the Supreme Court did not issue an injunction against Mr. Duterte’s arrest order on Tuesday, as Mr. Trillanes had asked it to do, the court said it took “cognizance of the pledge by the military and police not to arrest the senator until a final ruling” was made by a lower court. It also noted what it called Mr. Duterte’s “categorical pronouncements” that the senator would not be detained until a court issued a ruling.
The senator’s lawyer, Rey Robles, said the court had essentially put Mr. Duterte on notice to keep his promise. “We are gratified by the decision of the Supreme Court,” he said. “We are happy with the decision as it is.”
The Philippines has seen many coups and attempted coups. Corazon Aquino, who was president during the transition to democracy after decades of dictatorship under Ferdinand Marcos, survived six military revolts. Another president, Joseph Estrada, was chased out of office over alleged corruption in 2001, in a military-backed popular uprising.
Two years later, Mr. Trillanes, then a young navy officer, helped to lead a cabal of some 300 junior officers and enlisted men who took over a luxury hotel in Makati, the capital’s financial district, to protest alleged corruption in the military. The bloodless revolt was quickly put down by then-President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, who promised to look into their allegations.
Four years later, as Mr. Trillanes and other officers were on trial, they walked out of a Manila courtroom and took over another high-end hotel. That siege was also brief, ending after the military crashed an armored personnel carrier into the lobby of the building.
Mr. Trillanes, a charismatic figure, was elected to the Senate from jail soon afterward, and other officers involved in the revolts also had success in politics. Mr. Duterte maintains that the amnesty granted to Mr. Trillanes was never valid, in part because he did not file the proper paperwork, an allegation the senator has denied.