Press Release
February 19, 2010


Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Q. Pimentel, Jr. today urged the judicial authorities concerned to speed up the resolution of the rebellion and coup d'etat charges against detained Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV so that he can fully discharge his legislative duties if he cleared by the courts.

Pimentel also called for the implementation of a Senate resolution which seeks to allow Trillanes to attend and participate in Senate sessions, hearings and meetings while his cases are being heard by both civilian and military courts.

He said the failure of the courts to resolve and dispose of the cases against Trillanes, resulting in his continued detention since the failed 2003 Oakwood mutiny, is unfair to him and the Filipinos who elected him to office because it has negated the mandate given to him to serve as senator of t he land.

Pimentel said the decision of Makati Regional Trial Court-Branch l50 Judge Elmo Alameda granting bail to Trillanes and other military officers who are accused in a rebellion case is "a welcome development." The rebellion case stemmed from their participation in the so-called siege of Peninsula Hotel in Makati City on Nov. 29, 2007.

"I hope that whatever other cases Sen. Trillanes is facing could arrive at a similar development so that he could start discharging his duties, with roughly one-half of his six-year term remaining," the minority leader said.

"His continued detention is unfair because there are other ways allowed by law where he could be made to answer for whatever offenses he might have committed. This, without depriving him of his right to represent the more than 11 million voters who sent him to the Senate in the 2007 elections."

Pimentel said the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), through the Committee of the Human Rights of Parliamentarians (CHRP), has been following up his case over the last several years.

"The IPU cannot understand how one can be detained for more than six years now without his cases moving towards a definite conclusion," he said.

Pimentel, who was elected chairman of the five-man CHRP last February, said it is the stand of the IPU that if Sen. Trillanes has committed any crime, the government "should go ahead with his prosecution and possible conviction, based on evidence and the law but should not detain him for so long as if nothing is happening."

The IPU, composed of parliamentarians from more than l50 countries, has noted that the Senate has adopted Senate Resolution 3 calling on the judicial authorities concerned to allow Trillanes to move out of jail, under guard by military escorts, to enable him to attend Senate sessions and hearings in view of the courts' ruling rejecting his bail petition in connection with the coup case.

The Senate also changed certain Senate rules to allow Trillanes to take part in debates and cast his vote during Senate sessions and hearings through teleconferencing and other remote or electronic means.

The IPU has expressed disappointment that the Senate resolution remains unimplemented, thus depriving constituents of Trillanes of representation in the Senate, and calls on the Philippine authorities to "ensure that the resolution is implemented without delay."

"The Philippines is a party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights which enshrines fair trial guarantees and that, as a member of the United Nations Human Rights Council, it has pledged to uphold the highest standards of human rights," the IPU said in its communication to the Philippine government sent last January.

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