(Editor’s Note: With a little less than a month before the mid-term elections in May, INQUIRER.net has decided to deviate from the usual platform interviews of senatorial and local candidates that have been aired and written about and instead get to know them up close and, perhaps a little more personal, as we hope so will you our dear readers. The series of interviews will be posted on our special election site, Vote 2013 under INQuest. Is the exercise meant to make these candidates look good? Definitely not. But we enjoin you to watch and listen and let your candidates tell their stories because, believe it or not, their stories are ours as well.)
MANILA, Philippines – Reelectionist Senator Antonio Trillanes IV had two trimesters left in his Engineering course at the De La Salle University when he decided to enter the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) despite, ironically, reservations by his father, a soldier and PMA graduate, who thought that his son might not survive the difficult training, being a “laid-back teenager” who was used to “the good life”.
In this second installment of interviews with senatorial and local candidates by INQUIRER.net on INQuest: Vote 2013, Trillanes says his mother is a “devout Catholic”, and reveals that he served as an altar boy at one point.
He describes himself in his early growing up years as an “ordinary teenager” with some “challenges” and who eventually would need “straightening out”.
He says while the PMA instilled discipline, the institution also instilled in its students the ability to “discern what is right and wrong” and to “disobey unlawful orders”.
Trillanes also shrugs off claims that because of his military background, he is “arrogant”, saying that while he is perceived to be that, “the people close to me think otherwise”, adding that he is, in fact, the “clown” in the group.
As a father, Trillanes says he tends to “spoil“ his two children (A third died in infancy), having missed seven-and-a-half of their growing up years because of his incarceration for leading a mutiny against the administration of then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
He says he and his wife, also a PMA graduate, now “share in the responsibility” of raising their two children who, he says, he will always be supportive of.
He admits that his transition from soldier to senator was “very difficult to get used to” because “in the military, people are transparent, what you see is what you get” while in politics “you get blindsided and get stabbed in front while smiling”.
More of Trillanes in this interview on INQuest: Vote 2013.