Trillanes, Gordon fix spat: No more word war

Camille Elemia
Trillanes, Gordon fix spat: No more word war
Senator Antonio Trillanes IV visits Senator Richard Gordon and the two settle their differences

MANILA, Philippines – All is well that ends well.

At least, that’s how it has played out so far for bickering senators Richard Gordon and Antonio Trillanes IV, who resolved their differences on Wednesday, October 5, after engaging in a word war since Monday, October 3.

It was Trillanes who went to the office of Gordon, chairman of the Senate committee on justice and human rights which is leading the probe into the spate of extrajudicial killings.

Asked if everything has been settled already, Trillanes said: “Definitely.” He then promised Gordon that he would no longer talk about the issue.

“Mas marami kasing na-re-resolve na bagay directly and quietly so I promised not to issue any more statements,” Trillanes told reporters right after exiting Gordon’s office.

(There are more matters resolved when you handle it directly and quietly so I promised not to issue any more statements.)

Gordon earlier called Trillanes “sundalong kanin” while the latter called the former “biased” and  challenged him to “be man enough” and apologize to Senator Leila de Lima, another colleague embroiled in their exchange. 

It’s just natural, Trillanes said, for colleagues to have contrasting views, but this does not mean they have personal angst against each other.

“Sakin, wala ‘to. Kumbaga, kung ano na kailangan gawin, eh di gawin. (For me, this is nothing. Let’s just say, we should do what we should do.) We’re still colleagues. We’re still senators, so we can communicate freely. Every once in a while, you’re on opposing sides of the fence. The next issue, you’re on the same side. So gano’n lang ‘yun (That’s just how it is),” he said.

“Sometimes, things can be heated then all of us are passionate in what we’re fighting for, so these things happen,” Trillanes added.

“‘Yung debate, iba ‘yun. Wag lang namemersonal,” Gordon also said. (Debating is a different thing. It’s fine as long as there’s no personal attack.)

‘Decent, passionate’ talk

Gordon added that he appreciated Trillanes’ gesture.

“He was gentleman enough [to] come to the office. He said it just so happened he was passionate about the cause and that he was going to stop the word war already. I said no problem, we’re gonna be here for a long time, para magsama tayo matino at para masaya tayo rito (so we should work together properly and harmoniously).”

Gordon also advised the younger senator not to jeopardize personal relationships in the course of their work.

“That’s enough for me. Nag-usap kami, matino, passionate. Marami pa mangyayari diyan kako, never ever put a relationship [na] magkaka-samaan ng loob because we are here for a long time,” he said.

(That’s enough for me. We talked in a decent way, in a passionate manner. Many things will still happen, I told him, and I said to never ever harbor ill feelings because we are here for a long time.)

The Senate committee earlier decided to pursue its probe into the killings but without Matobato, who Gordon described as “damaged goods.”

Trillanes, although against it, said he would respect the decision of the majority. Trillanes and De Lima, members of the panel, were not invited to the caucus on Tuesday, October 4.

“We will submit to the decision of the majority. Whether we agree with it or not is an entirely different issue, but there are other means of bringing out the truth so we just move forward,” he said.

Trillanes drew the ire of Gordon on Monday after the former allowed Matobato to leave the Senate premises without the chairman’s permission.

He also presented Senate transcripts of previous hearings to counter Gordon’s allegations that De Lima deliberately hid information on the kidnap-for-ransom case against Matobato involving the death of alleged terrorist Sali Makdum.

Gordon earlier said he is eyeing an ethics complaint against De Lima. But now, he said he would just talk to her instead. –

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Camille Elemia

Camille Elemia is Rappler's lead reporter for media, disinformation issues, and democracy. She won an ILO award in 2017. She received the prestigious Fulbright-Hubert Humphrey fellowship in 2019, allowing her to further study media and politics in the US. Email