PHILIPPINE SEN. ANTONIO “SONNY” TRILLANES, IV, fields questions during an open forum on Oct. 26 at the United Methodist Church in Daly City, California sponsored by the Filipino Human Rights Alliance led by Ago Pedalizo. | (JGL Photograb from FAHRA video)
PHILIPPINE SEN. ANTONIO “SONNY” TRILLANES, IV, pins a Philippine flag medal on a Filipino American World War II veteran. | (JGL Photograb from FAHRA video)
PHILIPPINE SEN. ANTONIO “SONNY” TRILLANES, IV, (fourth from left) is shown with some of his hosts members of Filipino Human Rights Alliances. Looking on from left are Edwin Batongbacal, Kristine & Art Garcia, Rad Abarrientos, Sal, Violy Reyes, Atty. Rodel Rodis and Offel Abarrientos. (JGL Photo used with permission from FAHRA)
CHICAGO (JGL) – Visiting Filipino Sen. Antonio “Sonny” F. Trillanes, IV said Thursday (Oct. 26) that the International Criminal Court in The Hague, Netherlands is now reviewing documents a group has filed April against President Rody Duterte and 11 other Philippine government officials.
During an open forum on “Confronting the Threats Against Human Rights and Democracy in the Philippines” at the United Methodist Church in Daly City, California sponsored by the Filipino American Human Rights Alliance led by Ago Pedalizo, Trillanes said, “Based on our conversation with ICC officials, they are supposed to be reviewing documents submitted last May or early June. Hopefully, (an) initial resolution will come down anytime.
“There is (an) examination and formal examination. If our information would be accepted or taken in, the ICC can issue arrest warrants to Duterte and other officials involved.”
In late April this year, Filipino lawyer Jude Sabio filed before the ICC a complaint against Duterte and 11 other government officials for crimes against humanity that allegedly started from the time Duterte organized the Davao Death Squad in Davao when he was mayor until now when he became president of the Philippines.
The complaint was filed by Sabio after the testimonies of his client, self-confessed hitman Edgar Motabato were set aside by the Philippine Senate as “inconsistent” during a hearing last year.
Aside from Duterte, the other senior government officials named in the complaint include:
- Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre
- Philippine National Police Director General Ronald de la Rosa
- House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez
- Former Interior Secretary Ismael Sueno
- Police Superintendent Edilberto Leonardo
- Senior Police Officer 4 Sanson “Sonny” Buenaventura
- Police Superintendent Royina Garma
- National Bureau of Investigation Director Dante Gierran
- Solicitor General Jose Calida
- Sen. Richard Gordon
- Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano
NO CHARGES FILED VS. DRUG LORDS
Sabio requested prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, of the International Criminal Court to conduct an analysis of the situation of extrajudicial killings in the country and determine the criminal liability of Duterte and the 11 senior officials through a preliminary examination.
The 46-year-old arch-critic of Duterte also asked several dozens of members of the Filipino community: “How come after 16 months in office in a very aggressive war on drugs, Duterte has yet to file a case against the identified top drug lords of the country and his son, Paolo, when I confronted him during the Senate investigation that he is a member of the Triad, he did not even deny it.
“He had the opportunity to show it to my face to humiliate me by showing that my allegation wasn’t true and he could have shown his back (to the public) but he didn’t.
“There is a court of law and a court of public opinion. Public officials such as myself and Duterte and his family are subjected to a higher standard not only in the court of law but also the court of public opinion.”
Trillanes was en route to Manila when he made a beeline in Daly City after meeting with Florida Sen. Marco Rubio in Washington, D.C., where he said he promoted the Philippine-U.S. relations, talked about the Philippines’ graft and corruption and the human rights situation amid the war on drugs.
WHO RUINED PH IMAGE?
He said if the government will charge him with treason because he ruined the image of the Philippines “for washing dirty linen in public,” “I welcome that” because they come only from “fake news and blabbers. Nobody was there except a couple of staff of Sen. Rubio. No transcript was given. Nobody could possibly say that what I said was detrimental to the interest of the country. Strengthening the RP-US alliance wouldn’t you agree that it is a good day for us? Wouldn’t you agree? Now if they file it, I wouldn’t flinch. And I will face it when it comes.”
On the other hand, he added, “Hindi ba si Duterte ang nagsisira ng image natin? (Isn’t it that it is Duterte that ruined our image?)
“Minura niya ang (He bad-mouthed the) U.S. government. Si (the) President Obama of the U.S., the United Nations, the Pope. Because of that nasira ang Pilipinas (the image of the Philippines was ruined).”
When asked by Filipino American lawyer Rodel Rodis if former Sen. Bongbong Marcos is any closer to replacing Vice President Leni Robredo to solidify Duterte’s hold on the government, Trillanes said, “Yes, that’s because the Presidential Electoral Tribunal has commenced the recount and I believe they would be able to terminate this (election) protest as early as fourth quarter of next year so by then, we probably will have a new vice president.”
As to the question whether Duterte will give way to Marcos, Trillanes said, “I don’t think so. Duterte trusts only himself and the members of his family. These people try to convince themselves that they are allied with each other but when it comes to power, it’s all or nothing. So, I believe at some point, their paths will converge themselves as allied with each other and these people will part (ways from) among themselves to include the forces of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.”
Trillanes said the best deterrent to “populism” is the continuing education of the people by pointing out right from wrong. “When I started investigating VP (Jojo) Binay, he (Binay) had the highest (sic) approval rating than Duterte and he was very popular, yet he is wrong. He is corrupt and a lot of people saw thru that and Mr. Duterte would not have been president if Binay were not exposed for his corruption.”
Populism is a political strategy that generates mass mobilization and enthusiastic support for a leader and a party or movement among heterogeneous social groups in opposition to the existing political establishment demanding intra generation often at the expense of human rights and freedom.
Trillanes said going around Metro Manila and other parts of the country, he found out the numbers are different. The Filipino people may not be as expressive as the Americans. They intend to give Duterte the benefit of the doubt and they are simply good-natured. But when you go around different parts of the country, you will sense immediately at once that the political winds had turned.
“And these numbers would continue to go down and it is not 86%. Based on last survey, it was 48% net approval rating (for President Duterte). But it’s going down and will continue to go down,” he said.