Tension flares between Trillanes, Gordon over EJK report
Tension flared between Senators Antonio Trillanes IV and Richard Gordon when a joint committee report that found no proof of state-sponsored killings in the country was reported out to the plenary on Monday.
Gordon presented the report as chair of the Senate committee on justice that led the investigation on the alleged extrajudicial killings in the country, joint with the Senate committee on public order and dangerous drugs chaired by Senator Panfilo Lacson.
Before opening the floor for interpellation, Senate Majority Leader Vicente “Tito” Sotto III put on record that Gordon “took exception” by Trillanes’ action when the latter pointed at him while entering the session hall.
Sotto said Trillanes told him that he pointed at Gordon simply to convey his desire to question him about the committee report.
But when he was recognized to ask questions about the report, Trillanes did not mince words when he attacked Gordon and the committee report.
“To be honest I was almost impressed by the sponsorship speech. Almost because it sounded like an opening statement for the counsel, for the defense of President Duterte,” said Trillanes, a known critic of President Rodrigo Duterte.
“At any rate the bottom line of the committee report is wala raw ebidensya (there was supposedly no evidence). Ito ang aking problema e because the whole world e naalarma na sa nangyayari sa ating bansa pero dito sa committee na sya ang instrumento na maglabas ng katotohanan ay naudlot dahil abruptly hininto ang proceedings (This bugs me because the whole world is getting alarmed by developments in our country but here the committee, which should be an instrument to unearth the truth, abruptly stalled the proceedings).”
“Sabi wala daw ebidensya (They said there was no evidence). Hindi walang ebidenysa, kundi maaaring hindi ka nag-imbestiga so yun ang aking pananaw dito (It’s not about the absence of evidence but it’s probably the reluctance to investigate),” the senator added.
Trillanes noted that when the joint panel started the probe, there were 3,000 people reported to have been killed in the government’s war against illegal drugs.
But at present, as the report was reported out to the plenary, he said, the number of deaths had reportedly doubled.
“So ano ito (so what’s this)? Coincidence [or] pestilence [that hit our country]? Kaso ito e (but that is the case). [Why not pursue] open sources; you don’t even need to dig deeper; open sources would show that you have video recordings of admission to include the campaign promises, and actual policy pronouncements of President Duterte [to] kill Filipinos in this drug war,” he said.
Trillanes did not also buy the authorities’ claim that those killed in the anti-drug operations had resisted arrest.
“Ito na yata yung pinaka-maraming nanlaban sa ating law enforcement history na in six months, 3,000 yung nanlaban na kumabaga you have to be monumentally stupid na manlaban ka pa rin na alam mong pinapatay ka na (This is the highest number of those who resisted arrest in our law enforcement history in six months, 3,000 fought it out and it’s like you have to be monumentally stupid to fight when you know you’re facing armed police squad).”
He also protested the findings of the joint panel that he committed unparliamentary acts when he allowed confessed killer and witness Edgar Matobato to leave the Senate premises in one of its hearings without the permission of the body.
Trillanes said he already explained to the body and even to Gordon, in private, that Matobato had to leave the premises for security reasons.
He also denied apologizing to Gordon when he went to the latter’s office after the Matobato issue.
“Sinasabi nya na ako daw pumunta sa kanyang opisina at nag apologized (He was claiming that I went to his office and apologized), well let me state for the record, Mr. President, hindi ako nag-apologized (I did not apologize). Sinabi ko pasensyahan tayo( I said let’s be forbearing). Don’t lie, Senator, because yan ay (that’s) bad behavior,” Trillanes said.
“Ang sabi ko pasensyahan tayo (I said let’s be forbearing) at very passionate tayo so ganun na lang yun (we were passionate at that time). And akala ko gentleman yung kausap ko (I thought I was talking to a gentleman), we even shook up hands and we parted amicably,” he said.
Senate President Pro Tempore Franklin Drilon had to suspend the hearing to ease the tension between the two senators./ac
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.