By DJ Yap Inquirer MANILA, Philippines--The Makati court handling the coup d'etat case against Senator Antonio Trillanes IV will hear on Friday his motion appealing the ruling rejecting his request for furlough to attend Senate sessions. Judge Oscar Pimentel of the Makati Regional Trial Court Branch 148 will hear the arguments of both parties on whether he should reverse his decision denying Trillanes leave to perform his Senate duties while under detention. On Thursday, the prosecution panel led by Assistant Chief State Prosecutor Richard Anthony Fadullon and State Prosecutor Juan Pedro Navera filed another pleading opposing Trillanes' motion, which they said smacked of special treatment. "Accused Trillanes is not asking for nothing; he is asking for too muchÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¦He wants to be out of detention from morning to evening to attend all Senate sessions at the GSIS Building in Pasay City," they said. "He wants a working area in the Marine brig with telephone lines and Internet access. He wants to receive members of his staff at all times. He wants access to media at all times," the prosecutors added. They said Trillanes' motion was "uncannily similar" to former Zamboanga del Norte representative Romeo Jalosjos' "motion to be allowed to discharge mandate as member of the House of Representatives," after he was elected while in detention on charges of statutory rape and acts of lasciviousness. The motion was denied when Jalosjos' conviction was upheld. "He [Trillanes] should just admit to this Honorable Court that he is asking for special treatment as a Senator of the Republic," the prosecutors said. Earlier, Trillanes said denying him the chance to perform his duties was like a "slap in the face" of the 11 million who voted for him, and was akin to "denying the people's will, repudiating their choice and overruling their mandate as the sovereign of the nation." Trillanes asked the court to grant him leave to attend all official Senate functions, increased media access, and a workstation inside his cell. In denying Trillanes' motion, Pimentel cited the "Jalosjos doctrine," which stated: "When the voters of his district elected the accused-appellant to Congress, they did so with full awareness of the limitation on his freedom of action." Pimentel agreed with the Jalosjos doctrine that "allowing a prisoner to attend congressional sessions and committee meetings for five days or more in a week will virtually make him a free man" and would constitute preferential treatment. Trillanes argued that Jalosjos was charged with various counts of rape and lasciviousness, crimes involving moral turpitude, while he was charged with the offense of coup d'etat, "a charge which is commonly regarded as a political offense." He added that Jalosjos was convicted at the time he sought furlough to serve his term, while he is still undergoing trial. A better comparison, said Trillanes, would be with the cases of former president Joseph Estrada and former Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao governor Nur Misuari, who were allowed some liberties to perform political functions. The prosecutors, however, argued that citing the Estrada and Misuari cases "assumes the trees for the forest." "The vast majority of non-bailable detention prisoners, who are not among the 'contemporary examples' cited by accused Trillanes, do not enjoy special treatment," they said.
August 2007 Archives
GET a life, Senator Lacson! If you want to run for the presidency, at the very least have the decency of statesmanship. Then again, you are Panfilo Lacson! The very same person who made news at the height of the investigation with regard to the deaths of the Kuratong Baleleng Gang... the very same person who had on-and-off relationship with former president Joseph Estrada... the very same person who, for his entire career as a senator in the 13th Congress, devoted himself to implicating the First Family with countless allegations, which have never really prospered to a full-scale investigation! Now you have given breath anew to an expose, which is actually old news! Would you go so low as to bask yourself in character assassination in the attempt to put your name and face in all the news magazines and dailies? Would you rather prioritize your interests at the expense of a new beginning for Congress to make amends and finally get out of the abyss of political immaturity? Most importantly, would this on a certain level reduce the heinous corruption in the Philippine government? Go beyond political gimmickry and show us that you deserve the presidency come election 2010! -- Lemon Calulut, Riverside, California (via e-mail)
NO way, Mar. You are a pseudo-oppositionist. You want to align yourself with the opposition because you feel it is the "in" thing nowadays, notwithstanding the fact that opposition contenders for the presidency is already [an] overcrowded [group]. If all of you don't shape up, you will find yourselves clobbered by Malacanang's annointed one. -- Wency Gunio, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia (via e-mail)
THE WHOLE world saw what Trillanes had done when he and his cohorts held the Oakwood hotel and its employees hostage to further his "convictions." Guts you say? The man was definitely not thinking straight when he launched his campaign of terror. Despite the noblest of intentions, his actions had consequences that so adversely affected the economy that it moved progress some years back. Trillanes is a military man. He has no business talking the talk of civilians. How he won as senator is so beyond comprehension. Is that how the Filipino voter selects leaders, on good looks and trash talk? -- Arpee Lazaro, Makati City, Philippines (via e-mail)
By INQUIRER.net MANILA, Philippines--A major media organization assailed reported plans of the Commission on Elections to file charges of electoral sabotage against two media personalities the poll body accused of cooking up stories meant to discredit its reputation. The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines said it was "appalled" by the threat voiced by election commissioner Nicodemo Ferrer and called it "an assault on press freedom and freedom of expression." In a statement signed by chairman Jose Torres Jr., the NUJP called "ridiculous and outrageous" Ferrer's reason for filing the case -- to "cleanse the (journalism) profession" -- and his equating the alleged false news and comments of the unnamed journalists to electoral sabotage, a non-bailable offense punishable with life imprisonment. It also said Ferrer's threat to file the charges "betrays once more government's penchant for shooting the messenger instead of addressing the message." "This is the same mindset that is behind the official inaction that has worsened the culture of impunity in this country and emboldened those within and without government who would seek to cow the Philippine media into silence to continue their assaults, physical and otherwise, on journalists," it said. Since President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo came to power in 2001, 53 journalists have been murdered, the highest media death toll under any presidency, including the 14-year Marcos dictatorship. They NUJP said it did not dispute Ferrer's claims against the media personalities, saying this was for the poll official to prove. "But to insinuate that the ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‹Å"many things they have manufactured...may involve electoral sabotage,' is stretching credulity too far for an agency whose credibility has already been badly tarnished by the ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‹Å"Hello Garci' scandal and the current brouhaha over Lintang Bedol, an agency, in fact, that many critics contend has practically sabotaged the very democratic institution it is sworn to uphold," it added. The group said Ferrer's failure to name the allegedly errant journalists, "while hinting they are ranking media practitioners with his reference to ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‹Å"airconditioned rooms,' is a misbegotten and limp attempt to sow fear among opinion makers and media executives."
I WISH to react to the news story in which the political party Lakas says it wishes to play the role of "kingmaker" in 2010. How can Lakas be a kingmaker when it could not even manage to secure the victory of Team Unity candidates in the last elections? All over the country, TU was roundly beaten, except in places like Cebu, where no Lakas candidate won in the province. We need not stray very far. We only need to ask the question -- how did the TU fare in Pangasinan, the supposed "baluarte" (bailiwick) of Lakas, JDV being from Pangasinan? It was shameful. Certainly nothing for JDV or Lakas to be proud of. I think all this talk of "kingmaker" is just a shameless bid for Lakas to stay relevant in 2010. Because with JDV on his last term (and no waging a respectful national campaign), Lakas will just fade away, and its members absorbed by the more viable national parties, like NP or LP or NPC, who all have presidentiables. So Lakas should not kid itself. The best course to take now is to run for cover. -- Jorge Batoon, Glendale, California (via e-mail)