Senators urge ethics probe, ask for apology from Trillanes after he calls them ‘cowards,’ ‘lapdogs’

Several senators reacted to Senator Antonio Trillanes IV’s statement calling his colleagues ‘cowards,’ ‘puppets’ and ‘lapdogs’ of the Duterte administration, with one urging for an ethics probe and some asking Trillanes for an apology.

On July 3, Trillanes said the Senate, which is supposed to be the ‘last bastion of democracy’ has become the ‘puppets’ of the Duterte administration.
“Itong Senado na dati ay ‘yan yung last bastion of democracy eh ngayon, wala na, para na rin kaming mga tuta nitong administrasyon na ’to. Ni ayaw mag-imbestiga eh,” he said in a press conference at the Kapihan sa Manila Hotel.

“Dito ako makakakita ng mga senador na takot, kaalyado ka na lang kasi ayaw mo aminin na takot ka eh,” he added.

Trillanes accused some Senate committee chairpersons of not doing their jobs by not investigating the “abuses” of the Duterte administration, although he did not name names.

“‘Yung mga dapat sana na pumuna eh wala eh, sila yung mga bahag ang buntot,” he said.

He added that the administration is destroying the Philippine National Police because of the bloody drug war.

“Dati, professionalized ang hanay ng kapulisan pero dahil inengganyo magpatay (sic) ng tao eh ngayon, d’yan sa hanay ng kapulisan, may mga mamamatay tao eh,” he said. “Eh papaano yan, papaano madi-displina later on?”

Senator Panfilo “Ping” Lacson said what Trillanes did is the “darndest thing he can do.”

“Calling one’s own colleagues ‘cowards’ or ‘puppets’ wholesale and without qualifying, is the darndest thing he can do,” Lacson reacted to Trillanes’ remarks in a text message sent to reporters on July 3.

Lacson said Trillenes was “so out of touch with reality, if not hallucinating too much.”

“I don’t know where he is coming from and I’m not even sure if he is still rationale in his thinking,” Lacson said. “One thing I’m sure about, he is dead wrong.”

Senator JV Ejercito on July 5 urged for an ethics probe on Trillanes’ supposed damaging remarks.
“I find the recent statements of Senator Trillanes disrespectful and unparliamentary. He should be reminded that as a democratic institution, we in the Senate debate issues instead of hurling insults; we vote instead of calling each other names when we disagree,” Ejercito said in a statement.

“Maybe it is high time that we refer to the Senate Ethics Committee Sen. Trillanes’ actions, since he is becoming damaging to the institution, and becoming destructive to the country,” he added.

Senator Vicente “Tito” Sotto III, chairman of the Senate ethics committee, cautioned Trillanes to be careful in calling his fellow senators names.

“I do not know his reasons for saying that. He should be careful in calling us names. Hindi ko siya papatulan sa ngayon,” Sotto said in a text message.

He said that he would wait for an official complaint to be filed first before taking action.

“Motu propio is possible but it’s better if I receive a complaint. Hard to judge through media reports. I will entertain any complaint against any member of the Senate. Ngayon, ipaalala ko lang, when you point a finger at others, three others point at you,” Sotto said.

Ejercito said that he would consult with his colleagues whether to push through with filing an ethics complaint.

Trillanes said that he welcomes complaints filed against him, but shot back at Ejercito, asking him why he does not see anything wrong about Duterte’s recent ‘rape’ remarks.

“But here’s the thing, if Sen. Ejercito believes that my statement that the Senate is becoming a lapdog of the Duterte administration is highly offensive yet sees nothing wrong with Duterte’s rape comments to the soldiers, then we really have a problem,” Trillanes said via text message.

Trillanes was referring to Duterte saying that he would take responsibility for the soldiers if they rape women.

“Ako na ang magpakulong sa inyo. Pag naka-rape ka ng tatlo, aminin ko na akin ‘yun. Pag nag-asawa ka ng pang-apat, tang ina, bugbugin ka ng…” Duterte said.

Sotto later said that apologizing would be Trillanes’ “honorable way out.”

Asked to comment on whether he would ask Trillanes for an apology, Sotto said, “Instead of saying it’s the easy way out, it’s the honorable way out.”

Sotto said that agreeing with the administration’s policies does not mean they are lapdogs, adding that Duterte has never compelled the lawmakers to support his programs and policies. He also said Trillanes used the “wrong terms” to describe his colleagues.

“Medyo mali siguro ‘yung mga terms na ginagamit kaya nagiging offensive kasi pag sinabi mong ‘puppet,’ ang ibig sabihin nun ang Malacañang ang nagdidikta kung ano ‘yung mangyayari… For example the declaration of martial law, and you agree with the declaration of martial law, puppet ka na no’n? Hindi naman siguro,” he said.

Ejercito demanded an apology from Trillanes, not to the senators, but to the Senate

“An apology would be good for the institution. Not for me, it’s for the institution. We have to maintain decency. We have to maintain parliamentary ethics in the Senate,” Ejercito said in the forum.

But he said that once an apology was issued, “end of story. Hindi po tayo ‘yung nag-sorry na sige pa rin, hindi ka pa rin titigil.”

While Ejercito is not keen on filing a complaint against Trillanes, he cited Section 97 of the Rules of the Senate about punishing an unruly Senate member. The said section said, “Upon the recommendation of the Committee on Ethics and Privileges, the Senate may punish any Member for disorderly behavior and, with the concurrence of two-thirds (2/3) of the entire membership, suspend or expel a Member. A penalty of suspension shall not exceed sixty (60) calendar days.”

“Kaya nga meron mga rules ang Senado, there are rules of the senate to maintain proper decorum, maintain proper behavior,” Ejercito said.

Sources: ( , )

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