Saturday, September 22, 2007

Dapat lang

Trillanes to miss sessions

The Makati City Regional Trial Court yesterday threw out the last-ditch effort of Senator Antonio Trillanes IV to attend sessions in the Senate.

In denying the neophyte lawmaker’s pleading to join his collegues in the Upper Chamber, Judge Oscar Pimentel said he remained unpersuaded to allow him to leave detention.

“The court finds no justifiable and convincing reasons to grant the motion for reconsideration. For lack of merit, the motion for reconsideration is hereby denied,” ordered the 11-page ruling.

Trillanes filed his appeal last month, a few weeks after the court junked his petition to post bail and leave the Marine Brigade in Fort Bonifacio during the Senate’s session days.

But Pimentel was quick to stress that Trillanes was not being kept from his work as a duly elected legislator.

“What the court is not permitting is for the accused to leave his detention cell to attend sessions at the Senate and to attend official functions which may require him to leave his place of detention almost every day. The accused may perform his duties subject to limitations of being a detention prisoner.”

Pimentel said neither could Trillanes set up a personal office in his detention cell and have his staff hold office there.

He also noted that the detained senator erred in arguing that that the rape case of convicted former Zamboanga del Norte Rep. Romeo Jalosjos was inapplicable to his coup d’etat charge.

“When Congressman Jalosjos was elected, he was still considered a detention prisoner because his case is still under appeal with the Supreme Court. The only difference between Jalosjos and Trillanes is that Senator Trillanes is still undergoing trial,” said Pimentel.

The high tribunal, which the Makati court used as basis in its own ruling, had prohibited Jalosjos from leaving his prison cell to perform his congressional duties.

Saying Trillanes was a detention prisoner, Pimentel said his “personal liberty is under restraint, his movements from place to place are likewise under restriction, his power of locomotion is denied not by the court, but by law” and the presumption of innocence did not carry with it his enjoyment of full civil rights.

The former naval officer can propose bills and do other legislative functions even if he is being held inside Fort Bonifacio, according to Pimentel.

“If he was able to campaign while under detention, the more that he can perform his duties as a senator considering that he now has his office in the Senate.”

Trillanes is among the alleged core leaders of the Magdalo faction of 31 junior military officers who led about 300 soldiers in a short-lived mutiny at the Oakwood Premier Hotel in Makati City on July 27, 2003. Ferdinand Fabella

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