Press Release
April 27, 2008


Like Muslim rebel chieftain Nur Misuari, Senator and Magdalo leader Antonio Trillanes should be granted bail and temporarily freed from detention, Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Q. Pimentel, Jr. said yesterday.

Pimentel said if Misuari was allowed to post bail by the Makati Regional Trial Court in connection with rebellion charges against him, the more Trillanes should be entitled to the same privilege.

He noted that Misuari was charged with rebellion when he redeclared an uprising and led armed fighters of the Moro National Liberation Front in a gunbattle with government troops in Sulu in November 2001, resulting in losses of lives both sides.

In contrast, he said Trillanes was one of the junior officers who led disgruntled government soldiers belonging to the Magdalo group in the so-called Oakwood Mutiny in Makati City on July 23, 2003 where nobody was killed. After a negotiation, the renegade troops surrendered without firing a single shot.

Trillanes, along with Brig. Gen. Danilo Lim, also led the bloodless siege of Manila Peninsula Hotel in Makati on Nov. 29, 2007.

"Why shouldn't Trillanes be granted bail when nobody was killed during the two incidents? In fact, there was no firefight," Pimentel said.

Prior to the grant of bail to Misuari, he was put under house arrest by the Makati RTC.

He said the government's persistent refusal to the bail petition of Trillanes only betrays its double standards of justice in dealing with political dissenters.

He said the Magdalo soldiers staged the Oakwood mutiny to enable them to voice their grievances, particularly the widespread corruption in the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

Pimentel noted the testimonies of Sen. Rodolfo Biazon and former armed forces chief, retired Gen. Narciso Abaya at last Friday's court trial that tend to disprove the allegations that the Magdalo soldiers had intended to grab political power.

Pimentel said the grant of bail to Trillanes will enable him to perform his duties as elected senator of the republic. Majority of senators had signed a resolution last year urging the courts to allow Trillanes to attend Senate sessions and hearings while his case is being tried.

The case of Trillanes was brought up before the committee on the human rights of parliamentarians during the 118th general assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union in Cape Town, South Africa on April 13-17.

The five-man committee, of which Pimentel is a member representing the Association of Southeast Asia +3, acted immediately by calling for additional information from the Senate. This is without prejudice to a wider probe to be conducted by the committee on the Trillanes case.

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