ESPERON ASKS THE COURT TO RULE ON TRILLANES CUSTODY
Armed Forces Chief of Staff Hermogenes Esperon is in a quandary over the issue of custody for the newly elected Senator Antonio Trillanes, who is charged with coup d'etat along with 30 other Magdalo officers before a Makati Regional Trial Court of Judge Oscar Pimentel. They are also being subjected to a "general court martial" for their roles in the July 27 Oakwood Mutiny--FOUR YEARS AGO IN 2003.
Now it may not seem that long ago, compared to the epic plunders for example of Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos, or even the six year Mental Conundrum of the Erap Case. But I think the case of Senator Antonio Trillanes is very different than either of these. For here is a case that could have easily lain in the eternal slumber of the Justice System Ooze and forgotten like the rest. Perhaps in this case Justice itself will not be denied by virtue of the habitual delay because something happened: the 2007 Midterm elections.
In these elections, the phenomenon of Senator Sonny Trillanes will more likely overshadow every other story of the election for both its short term and long term implications. His election is actually most emblematic of the indirect referendum hypothesis first proposed by Christian Monsod and One Voice long before the elections. It appears to be a signal that the people want PGMA properly impeached and convicted, since Sen. Trillanes made that a campaign position and promise. But the most significant implications are really for the Magdalo cases and the whole problem we have with the Philippine Military.
The people don't appear to believe the Oakwood Mutiny was an attempt to seize power in a coup d'etat and they want its leader, Sonny Trillanes to tell the true story of Oakwood in the Senate and to legislate the reforms that will prevent it in the future. I personally think the Oakwood Mutiny of July 2003 was the desperate act of desperate men trying to escape from the deadly consequences of a betrayal of trust by their own Commander in Chief to whom they had blown the whistle on the systemic graft and corruption in the AFP that has prevented it from becoming a proud and professional and effective fighting force against the various insurgencies, rebellions and terrorist jihads plaguing the land.
The authorities have had ample time to resolve these cases now getting long in the tooth. They cannot offer up the excuse that these detained military officers are rich and powerful Joseph Estrada and can delay their own trials because they also like staying under arrest. The Magdalo have been under military arrest and detention for significant fractions of their young lives and hitherto brilliant and brave careers as men-at-arms.
I think that there is a widespread sense that injustice is being done to these bemedalled soldiers and explains the election of Trillanes as a Senator.
Which is why it would be better for Gen. Esperson and the Palace to read clearly the lips of the people. The elections have overtaken non-events in the adjudication process that only serves the accusers, who were once accused by the defendants of rank graft and corruption.
Eleven million votes cannot be outweighed, however. Elections may be the antidote to the inexplicable delay in Justice--that it may not be denied--for has not a jury of eleven million of their peers adjudged Trillanes et al not guilty of coup d'etat? Or at least deserving of discharging the solemn duties as their duly elected representative in the august halls of the Senate, and not the Marine Brig?
He has not been convicted of any crime and neither Makati RTC nor the reported Court Martial seems to be making much headway proving the absurdity that the most valorous of the Philippine Military--its best and brightest bemedalled fighters--once tried to seize state power by capturing one floor of a luxury hotel building in Makati City. Not a single shot was fired, nor anyone hurt, as the dastardly plot of the Oakwood Mutineers seems to have been a hastily called Press Conference at the hotel lobby. It's just about as silly as the Davide Court absolving Davide of coup d'etata and declaring that Joseph Estrada voluntarily resigned and gave up Presidential immunity just four days after he was assured of acquittal at his impeachment trial. (Now there's a guy who regrets not running in 2007! For it reveals his real faithlessness in the Filipino people.)