MANILA, Philippines?One more tough guy coming up.
The ?macho bloc? of Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile is expected to gain more muscle with the arrival of Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV next month.
Trillanes will join Senate Pro Tempore Jinggoy Estrada, Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III and Sen. Gregorio Honasan II in firming up Enrile?s hold as head of the multiparty upper chamber.
Sotto said Trillanes? entry should solidify the bloc?s control of the chamber amid persistent talks that the Liberal Party was planning to take another stab at installing a member as Senate president, especially after the administration achieved its goal of ratifying the 2011 budget before yearend.
According to Sotto, Trillanes? first day in the session hall on Jan. 17 will also serve as a reunion of sorts with Honasan, who was accused of recruiting the former Navy lieutenant and other junior military officers and plotting the July 2003 Oakwood mutiny.
Honasan, the founder of the Reform the Armed Forces Movement that mounted a number of failed coup attempts against the first Aquino administration, was reportedly called kuya (elder brother) by the Magdalo officers who took part in a blood ritual held during one of their clandestine meetings a little over a month before the takeover of the Oakwood serviced apartments in Makati City.
?I believe they will be seated beside each other,? Sotto said.
In an interview, Honasan said he was looking forward to working side by side with Trillanes.
2 security men
Enrile said the Senate had nothing special lined up for Trillanes on Jan. 17, although he added that he was looking forward to hearing the latter respond to the roll call.
He has assigned two Senate security personnel to Trillanes as part of a deal with Makati Judge Oscar Pimentel concerning Trillanes? temporary liberty.
Enrile said he would not allow the newly released senator to leave the country until his application for amnesty had been approved by the Department of National Defense.
He said people should not be worried about Trillanes leading another coup attempt, pointing out that the latter was already a politician and out of the military service.
Enrile also said Trillanes phoned at 11 a.m. Tuesday to thank him and the other senators who had backed his appeal for temporary liberty and aired his appreciation to President Benigno Aquino III for the amnesty proclamation.
He expressed elation that Judge Pimentel had kept an ?open mind? about Trillanes? case, and admitted that he had spoken with the judge about the Senate taking custody of the ex-rebel officer to enable him to fulfill his senatorial duties.