Press Release
June 16, 2010


Minority Leader Aquilino Q. Pimentel, Jr. today urged the incoming Senate to implement an already-approved resolution to allow detained Sen. Antonio Trillanes to participate in its proceedings through electronic means if only to prevent his electoral mandate from being put to waste.

Pimentel expressed dismay that the coup d'etat charges against Trillanes in connection with the aborted 2003 Oakwood mutiny remain unresolved by the courts about three years after he was elected to the Senate by 11 million Filipinos and nearly seven years after the power grab incident took place.

He also lamented that that a Regional Trial Court of Makati and later the Supreme Court denied Trillanes' petition to post bail to enable him to discharge his legislative duties.

"When Trillanes was voted by the people, he was already in detention. They were in effect telling the government, let him function as a senator," the outgoing senator from Mindanao said.

Pimentel expressed the hope that after former Gen. Danilo Lim, key figure in the February, 2006 army standoff, was released and allowed to post bail by an RTC after the May 10 elections, the courts would reconsider their unfavorable rulings on Trillanes' petition for the grant of temporary liberty.

He said that with Trillanes' continued incarceration and the uncertain fate of his case, the will of the 11 million Filipinos who voted him into office has been negated and his right to speedy trial derailed.

Pimentel, also chairman of the Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians of the l50-nation Inter-Parliamentary Union, said the Senate had also passed a resolution asking the judicial authorities to allow Trillanes to attend Senate sessions under heavy guard while he is undergoing court trial.

But this resolution also remains unimplemented because of the adverse ruling the courts.

Pimentel said that since the courts have refused to grant bail to Trillanes and to allow him to get out of jail on a day-to-day basis, the only recourse left is to facilitate his participation in Senate proceedings through teleconferencing and other modern means of communications.

He said this will allow Trillanes not only to take part in debates but also to vote on legislative measures.

Pimentel said the IPU has conveyed its concerns to the Philippine government that Trillanes' continued detention constitutes an infraction of his constitutional rights and a disregard of the sovereign will of the people.

"It does sound unfair, if not unconstitutional, to have a duly-elected member of the Senate or any person for that matter subjected to detention for more than three years, having been restricted of his liberty and prevented from doing his duties as a legislator without any speedy relief in sight," he said.

Pimentel pointed out that in Japan, Canada, Netherlands, Pakistan and many other countries, legislators who are under detention for pending charges are granted permission by their respective legislatures or judicial bodies to attend sessions.

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