SENATOR-ELECT ANTONIO TRILLANES IV was proclaimed a winner in the 2007 May 14 Midterm Elections by the Comelec this morning. There seems to have been a last-minute attempt to prevent him from attending the proclamation this morning, despite the Makati court's order allowing him to attend his acceptance of over 11 million votes giving him the 11th seat in the 2007 Senate contest. I heard AFP Chief of Staff General Hermogenes Esperon explaining to Ted Failon and Korina Sanchez why he had given verbal orders initially disallowing Sen. Trillanes from leaving the Marine Brig with his lawyers. He said it was merely "a procedural matter" that he wanted to establish. Gen. Esperon said that since there were two courts trying the Magdalo/Oakwook cases, the Makati RTC and a general Court Martial, he did not want a precedent set where "just because" the civilian court decides something that the military court could be "ignored." (Or words to this effect.) To which Senator Trillanes, then still detained at the Marine brig, came back with "civilian supremacy over the military" (or words to that effect) which seemed to hit home. In any case, cooler heads must've prevailed or Gen. Esperon got some better legal advice and backed off, finally allowing Senator-elect Trillanes to get to Intramuros and Comelec in time to even make the noontime news. He spoke with the divine Ms. Pinky Webb in a very relaxed mood for the first time since...the Oakwood Mutiny it seems...his hair tousled, a beard and mustache beginning to grow on his widely-acclaimed to be handsome face.
Armed Forces Spokesmen insist that Senator Trillanes will have to request permission for daily furlough when the Senate is in session and he wants to attend. But I think such braggadocio won't last when they realize what it REALLY means to have been elected Senator by 11 million of your fellow voters in an open, democratic election, and you were in JAIL the whole campaign period. Senator Trillanes was very gallant with Pinky Webb, saying he doesn't even want the Senate to take custody of him as fellow Cavalier Senator Rodolfo Biazon has suggested. He wants to stay with the rest of the Magdalo in detention for the alleged mutiny of July, 2003 for which they are being charged with coup d'etat.
The lesson that must be taught however, if hardheads refuse to learn it is this:
THE SPRING CANNOT RISE HIGHER THAN THE SOURCE
Trillanes and his men have been accused of mutiny and coup d'etat and held for nearly four years since July, 2003 when they uprose to denounce the Armed Forces' Top Brass of graft and corruption and dereliction of duty in running the military and not supporting the fighting men in the field (them!) in the fight against Communist insurgents, Moro separatists and terrorist bandits.
This singular fact was certainly well-known to the Filipino people when Trillanes announced his candidacy for the Philippine Senate and declared his intention to pursue the agenda of Magdalo by being elected to the Senate, even vowing to pursue investigations into military involvement in election frauds, in corrupt schemes and in the spate of extrajudicial murders that have occurred under the regime of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. The electorate knew that here was an accused mutineer and coup plotter asking instead for their mandate to pursue his advocacies.
And the People gave Antonio Trillanes that mandate with over 11 million votes cast in his favor, despite having little money and campaigning from the brig.
Such an eventuality cannot be regarded lightly. It is not an ordinary event even in a democracy where the People have so clearly exercised what I like to characterize as a TRIAL BY ELECTION in which the electorate itself has set itself up as a JURY.
This is of course essentially a political or philosophical argument, not a legal one. But I think it will become very important going forward as the conditions of his service as a Senator of the Republic are settled.
It is simply inconceivable to me that Hermogenes Esperon will have his way. There are already 11 million vetos over whatever power he can claim over Trillanes. They've hgad their chance for four long years to prove their charges. Now the people have spoken.
They will not be able to ignore such a popular mandate and strong moral backing as Sonny Trillanes has received.
It all remains to be seen what this youngest of Senators will do with such golden opportunity. Will he fall to the Left? the Right? or the Just?