Remulla: Trillanes is the 'Yolanda' of senators
MANILA, Philippines – Why should Vice President Jejomar Binay bother facing a man who has been a “destroyer all his life?”
“[Senator Trillanes] has destroyed Makati, the institution of the military, he’s been destroying everything his whole life," Remulla said on Wednesday, November 12, in an interview on #RapplerTalk a day after Binay backed out of a debate with the senator.
"In the 7 years as senator, what does he have to show? He’s the Yolanda of senators. It’s a path of destruction wherever he goes,” the governor added. He's referring to Super Typhoon Yolanda that battered the Visayas region one year ago.
Trillanes, now on his second term as senator, was a Lieutenant Senior Grade in the Philippine Navy when he and other officers led a 2003 mutiny against then President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo at the Oakwood Premier Ayala Center in Makati City.
The former naval officer gained national attention for going against Arroyo even while serving time in jail for the botched mutiny.
Three years after the failed putsch, Trillanes, while attending a court trial, again led the siege of the Manila Peninsula Hotel in Makati City, to reiterate rebel soldiers' demand for Arroyo to step down.
But on Tuesday, November 11, Trillanes cited one reason for that botched siege: Binay.
According to the senator, Binay, who was then Makati City mayor and a staunch Arroyo critic, promised Trillanes and the rebel troops warm bodies for their planned coup in November 2007. Binay even allowed them to hide their weapons in the city hall, Trillanes added. But when they marched on the streets of Makati, Binay's promised civilian support was nowhere to be found, he said, prompting them to take refuge in the hotel.
The Binay camp scoffed at Trillanes' claim, describing it as the ex-coup leader's clumsy attempt to "rewrite history."
Binay has snubbed the Senate’s invitation twice – the first from the Senate Blue Ribbon subcommittee of which Trillanes is a part of, and a second from the Blue Ribbon “mother committee.”
For Remulla, one of Binay’s 3 spokesmen, this is justified. “Where other venue can you find that you are accuser, judge and jury at the same time?” he said.
Instead, the Vice President challenged Trillanes to a one-on-one debate which Binay himself has backed out of.
Marines don't back out
Trillanes criticized the Vice President for backing out of the debate and for announcing it while inside a Naval camp.
Binay, a reserve Marine colonel, made the surprise announcement in a chance interview with reporters on his 72nd birthday. Before the interview, Binay spent the morning jogging and joining a “boodle fight” with the Marines.
“The Marines never back out [of a fight]. I think the Marines should take the uniform back,” Trillanes said told reporters shortly ater Binay’s announcement.
Aside from backing out of a debate, Binay has also called the subcommittee probing him a “kangaroo court.” The Vice President went as far as reaching out to President Benigno Aquino III, a family friend, to ask for his help in stopping the probe.
Although the President did not force the subcommittee to stop the probe, he admitted to reporters on Tuesday that he personally wants the probe to wrap up as soon as possible so the country could focus on other pressing issues.
“The partiality is wearing people off… People are getting tired of it,” said Remulla, referring to the almost 3-month long probe.
The Cavite governor said proof of that fatigue is the supposedly dwindling ratings of Trillanes and another senator leading the probe, Senator Alan Peter Cayetano.
“Nakita niyo naman rating ni (You’ve seen the ratings of) Sen Cayetano. He goes: ‘I want to be president,’ he’s at 12. He goes after Binay, he goes to 9 to 7 to 1. Why? People don’t want destroyers, they want builders,” added Remulla.
Binay’s numbers have also gone down since the probe started, although he remains the country’s most trusted public officials and is still the leading bet for president in 2016, based on nationwide surverys.
Instead of the Senate or a debate, Remulla said Binay – and his team of lawyers – will face the accusations at the “proper forum,” the Ombudsman. (READ: Payoffs, weak prosecution got Binay off the hook) – Rappler.com