Trillanes to file counter-complaint vs 'unethical' Gordon
MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – A day after the ethics complaint against him, opposition Senator Antonio Trillanes IV said he will also file an ethics complaint against Senator Richard Gordon, following their face-off in a Senate probe.
Trillanes delivered a privilege speech on Tuesday, September 5, in response to the complaint of Gordon, who called him "unparliamentary" for his demeanor during a hearing on the P6.4-billion shabu shipment smuggled from China.
"Normally, I am not the whining type and could have easily let these things pass so I could focus on the more important issues at hand. But in the spirit of justice and fairness, at the appropriate time, I'd be filing my own ethics case against Senator Gordon for his unparliamentary and unethical acts as senator and chair of the blue ribbon committee," Trillanes said.
Trillanes cited the rules and procedure supposedly violated by Gordon. These include denying the minority bloc's right to be heard, dishonesty for insisting that the phrase "committee de absuwelto" was made on record, disregarding the objection of a panel member, disrespecting and insulting a member of the committee, and "monopolizing" the flow of hearings by conducting a "monologue for hours."
Trillanes also quit from his post as a member of the Senate ethics committee and said Minority Leader Franklin Drilon would choose his replacement. Drilon said Senator Paolo Benigno Aquino IV would likely replace Trillanes in the committee.
Last Thursday, August 31, Trillanes called Gordon's panel "committee de absuwelto" and accused him of "lawyering" for President Rodrigo Duterte and his family.
But the minority senator said he mentioned the phrase while the session was suspended, and even presented videos to support his claim.
Trillanes also said it was just a response to Gordon's "cockpit of chismis (gossip)" remark, which he took as an accusation that he is just peddling rumors.
Aside from filing an ethics complaint, Trillanes said he would also "expose" Gordon's alleged anomalies in the Philippine Red Cross (PRC).
"I will also expose his corrupt acts as chairman of the Philippine Red Cross," Trillanes said.
Gordon responded to Trillanes' speech and said he does not get "any salary or allowances" from the organization. He also lamented Trillanes' attacks on the PRC.
"I am also a governor of the International Federation of Red Cross. I just appeal to the senators to be very, very careful. You may hurt me but not the movement," Gordon said.
"But to malign the Red Cross in this hall... That has always been the problem. He thinks he does his job by making sure his conclusions are in his mind and when he asks questions, he thinks he's already proven his point. That's why he's trying hard to understand what hearsay is," he added.
Gordon also moved to "expunge" the mention of the PRC from the Senate records.
"He can accuse me of corruption, that is his privilege, but do not drag the Red Cross especially if there is no proof. That is my humble request," Gordon said.
The Senate, however, has yet to decide on his motion and only referred it to the committee on rules.
'Na-ano,' other harsh words
To further push his point, Trillanes cited the controversial "na-ano" remark of Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III during a confirmation hearing.
As an ethics member then, Trillanes said such a statement is not enough to suspend or reprimand a sitting senator, who has the mandate of the public.
"Hindi ko minamaliit 'yung pagka-offend ng mga kababaihan, pero mas mabigat sakin 'yung mandato ng taong bayan na naghalal sa kanya. Kahit censure or reprimand, hindi ko magawa kasi maliwanag nga sa rules, bukod pa ro'n, nakakita na ako ng mas maaanghang pang palitan ng salita at napalagpas naman," Trillanes said.
(I am not belittling the offense taken by women but for me the mandate of the public who elected him is more important. I could not even censure or reprimand him because the rules are clear. Aside from that, I've also witnessed more fiery exchanges, which were not sanctioned.)
"Ngayon, 'lawyering' at 'komite de absuwelto' lang na si Senator Gordon lang ang na-offend, ipapa-expel, ipapa-suspend, or even ire-reprimand ako? Parang hindi yata tama 'yun," he added.
(Now, over the words "lawyering" and "committee de absuwelto" which only offended Senator Gordon, I would be expelled, suspended, or reprimanded? That does not seem right.)
Trillanes also cited previous "harsh" words of senators, which did not merit ethics cases.
These include former senator Alan Peter Cayetano calling then senator Benigno Aquino III "abnormal," former senator Joker Arroyo calling Trillanes a "mosquito," and the late senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago describing senators as "fungus-faced imbeciles." – Rappler.com