Trillanes being Trillanes
I look forward to day when Senator Antonio Trillanes will use his bully pulpit in the Senate and his litigious nature against someone whose politics he actually believes in, himself included. Unfortunately, that day will probably never come.
Trillanes yesterday filed plunder charges against Senator Richard Gordon, with whom he has had a running spat in the Senate. According to Trillanes, in his complaint before the Office of the Ombudsman, Gordon funneled P193 million from his pork barrel funds to the Philippine Red Cross, which Gordon also chairs in a concurrent capacity, and used the funds to pay for anomalous projects to further Gordon’s political career.
These are truly serious charges. Especially since Trillanes was himself being considered by the Department of Justice, together with his fellow senators aligned with former President Noynoy Aquino and the latter’s top officials, for similar charges based on the allegations of pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim Napoles earlier this year.
Indeed, Trillanes has never spoken out about the Napoles pork barrel scandal, except to deny that he misused his own pork funds. And he has never condemned any of the people linked to stealing their Priority Development Assistance Funds or their Disbursement Acceleration Program monies, which were lavished by Aquino on all of his political allies, Trillanes especially.
In fact, in 2015, Senator Nancy Binay said that Trillanes—a favorite of Aquino, who even made him “back-channel negotiator” with China—received more funds than most senators did for his yeoman’s job as all-around hitman in Noynoy’s employ. “I am wondering if Trillanes is a favorite of [then Budget Secretary Florencio] Abad because when I computed the allocation for Trillanes, it came out as P245 million,” Binay said at the time.
The DAP scandal broke after then Senator Jinggoy Estrada declared that all senators except three got at least P50 million in DAP funds in order to convict the late Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona. Then Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile and Aquino favorites Senators Franklin Drilon and Francis Escudero were supposed to have received P100 million from DAP; only then Senators Joker Arroyo, Miriam Santiago and Ferdinand Marcos Jr. received nothing at all from Abad’s brainchild fund-impounding scheme.
I noted that Trillanes declared that there was “nothing personal” about his lodging a complaint against Gordon. But I quickly decided that this was the usual bovine manure that the senator dishes out.
With Trillanes, everything is personal and politically motivated. Or, if you believe what they say, a little narco.
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For once, I find myself in total agreement with the Liberal Party, when it declared yesterday that Noynoy Aquino will be cleared of the charges brought before him by the Ombudsman yesterday before the Sandiganbayan anti-corruption court. But I don’t agree that this is because Aquino did not do anything wrong when he planned, oversaw and eventually washed his hands of that incident that is now known as the Mamasapano Massacre.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: The laughable (and bailable) charges of usurpation of official functions and simple graft that Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales brought to court are intended to inoculate Aquino from more serious suits and liabilities—and an injustice to the 44 Special Action Force commandos that Aquino sent to their deaths in that godforsaken cornfield in Maguindanao.
Whose official functions did Aquino as a sitting president and the most powerful man in the country, usurp in the harebrained operation that sent the SAF 44 to their doom? And why was graft all that he could have committed when he decided not to save the troops under his direct command when they were set upon by a much larger force of Moro rebels and abandoned for those precious hours when artillery fire and air cover could have kept them alive?
Morales, the architect of the same legal strategy that virtually absolved Abad for “usurping legislative functions” when he dreamed up DAP, is at it again. And if Morales thinks that the relatives of the slain SAF troops should applaud her for going all the way to the Sandiganbayan with her absurd and risible charge sheet, then she is even crazier than anyone thought her to be. Morales is just playing the role given to her to the hilt—that of protecting the president who appointed her in a rearguard action, in order to shield him from any real punishment. And if Morales is impeached, as some members of Congress still want to do, that will probably be the only time when the SAF 44’s kin (and all the other people that she oppressed with her particularly virulent strain of Yellow selective justice) will applaud.
I remain convinced that no real charges will be leveled against the perpetrators of large-scale corruption and incompetence that took place during the previous administration will be filed until Morales retires in July next year. In fact, I know quite a few people who are just waiting for that time before going to the new Ombudsman’s office with serious suits, convinced as they are that Morales will never allow any Yellow official to suffer for their high crimes.
Until that day, I refuse to join the small chorus that wants us to think that Aquino is getting what he deserves. That time will come, but not while Morales is doing her true job of warding off any and all threats to the president who put her where she is.