Senate panel tells Trillanes to answer ethics complaint
The Senate committee on ethics ruled on Monday that the complaint filed by Sen. Richard Gordon against Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV for his alleged “unabated unparliamentary acts and behavior” was sufficient in form and substance.
Gordon, chair of the blue ribbon committee, also asked the ethics body to penalize Trillanes accordingly.
The complaint stemmed from a verbal clash between the two senators in a hearing two weeks ago on the entry of P6.4 billion worth of “shabu” (crystal meth) into the country and the involvement of the so-called “Davao Group” in smuggling.
The clash came when Trillanes called the blue ribbon committee a “comité de absuelto” (committee of exoneration) after Gordon rebuffed his motion to summon President Duterte’s son, Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte of Davao City, and his son-in-law, lawyer Manases Carpio.
The two men were eventually invited to the hearing on Sept. 7.
After the first hearing of the ethics committee on the complaint, its chair, Sen. Vicente Sotto III, told reporters that Trillanes would be asked to answer the allegations in 10 days.
One of the grounds that Gordon mentioned in his complaint was Trillanes’ participation in two coup attempts—in July 2003 at Oakwood Premier and in November 2009 at the Manila Peninsula Hotel—both in Makati City.
But the panel decided to exclude this from the complaint after Minority Leader Franklin Drilon questioned its jurisdiction, pointing out that one uprising was carried out before Trillanes became a senator.
Drilon also noted that Trillanes was given amnesty in 2010 by then President Benigno Aquino III, which, in effect, “extinguished” his participation in all military uprisings.
The members of the committee agreed with Drilon, according to Sotto.
“I respect the decision of the ethics committee. I will submit to the process,” Trillanes said. “I will face it wholeheartedly because I am confident that I did not do anything unparliamentary.”
He said he himself would file an ethics complaint against Gordon this week or the next.
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