Gordon files ethics complaint vs 'unparliamentary' Trillanes

MANILA, Philippines – Days after their heated argument, Senate blue ribbon committee chairman Richard Gordon filed an ethics complaint against opposition Senator Antonio Trillanes IV for his "unparliamentary acts" and language.

Gordon lodged the complaint before the Senate ethics committee on Monday, September 4, at 7:44 pm. Committee Secretary Gemma Genoveva Tanpiengco received the complaint beyond office hours.

"This complaint against the continuous, unabated, unparliamentary acts, language, and conduct of Senator Antonio F. Trillanes IV, which is causing damage to the Senate and to the people and, therefore, is of primordial importance," Gordon said in his 23-page complaint.

"This case is neither frivolous nor is it being filed out of spite. This is about maintaining the dignity of the Senate," he added.

Gordon claimed he already has the backing of 14 senators – something that Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III, chairman of the ethics committee, confirmed. Trillanes, however, said it is too early to speculate.

"Tignan natin. It will be a long process and I am confident, sabi ko nga, na wala akong ginawang anything improper, anything unparliamentary. So it's premature for him to say kung sino 'yung mga susuporta sa kanya dahil mahabang proseso 'yan," Trillanes told reporters.

(Let's see. It will be a long process and I am confident, like I said, that I didn't do anything improper, anything unparliamentary. So it's premature for him to say who will support him because his complaint will have to go through a lengthy process.)

The ethics complaint came after the two senators faced off during the Senate blue ribbon committee hearing last Thursday, August 31. Trillanes asked the panel to summon presidential son Davao City Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte and son-in-law Manases Carpio to the inquiry after the two were implicated in smuggling.

Gordon initially said the accusations against Paolo Duterte and Carpio were just "hearsay."

Trillanes then accused Gordon of "protecting" President Rodrigo Duterte and his family – something that the administration senator strongly denied.

Gordon on Monday went on to invite Paolo Duterte and Carpio to the Senate for the hearing on Thursday, September 7, which the two said they would attend.

Prior to this, Gordon and Trillanes also locked horns during the Senate justice committee probe into extrajudicial killings. Trillanes apologized to Gordon a day after.

The minority bloc earlier slammed the filing of an ethics complaint against Trillanes, saying it is meant to stifle dissent in the chamber. Senator Leila de Lima, another critic of the President, was slapped with numerous ethics complaints before her imprisonment over alleged drug links.

Since 1986, the Senate has so far censured only two senators for ethical violations. – Rappler.com

Camille Elemia

Camille Elemia is Rappler's lead reporter for media, disinformation, 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 camille.elemia@rappler.com