INDEED, future generations of Filipinos will owe him. Antonio Trillanes by his record and behavior is convincing Filipinos, finally, that this institution with the misnomer of the “Senate”—from the Latin senatus, or assembly of “wise old men”—has become so moribund it should be abolished.
Trillanes’ timing is perfect since President Duterte is determined, as he has the vast political support, to have the Constitution amended during his term for the country to have a unicameral parliament.
By his insolence even towards his colleagues, his exploitation of the Senate’s halls for his character assassination contracts, his bullying of citizens called by the body for information, and his arrogance—and all without the compensating quality of intellectual competence—Trillanes has demonstrated that this once revered institution has become helpless before demagogues and scoundrels.
The former Navy captain’s biggest accomplishment in the Senate was to transform it into a propaganda machine in the past two years that doomed the presidential candidacy of Jojo Binay. The former Makati mayor headed the Genuine Opposition alliance that recruited Trillanes as its guest senatorial candidate in 2007.
In a span of just a few years, Trillanes has been so successful in demolishing the image of the Senate as a forum for calm and intelligent discussion of matters important to the nation, and undertaken by the Republic’s wisest citizens.
It is difficult to imagine that where Trillanes now spews lies and where he quarrels with his colleagues was once the hallowed halls where our nation’s political luminaries, such as Senators Claro M. Recto, Cipriano Primicias, Arturo Tolentino, and Lorenzo Tañada, argued on issues so eloquently.
Filipinos are kind. They didn’t mind that people like movie actors, a basketball star, a comedian, an ousted President’s wife and an over-the-hump movie star’s husband would be put in the Senate.
When these senators realized they shouldn’t be in the Senate at all and consequently just remained silent there, Filipinos simply forgot about them, forgot they’re being paid handsomely by taxpayers for doing nothing.
But by fading into the Senate halls’ furniture, they didn’t damage the institution. Filipinos just laughed at their stupidities, as when I did when Lito Lapid in the impeachment trial referred to a chart of the Chief Justice Corona’s alleged assets as a “pizza pie” that gave him a headache.
It’s totally another thing in the case of Trillanes. He is noisy, spreads lies, and badmouths people who are respected by Filipinos.
I can’t think of any senator in our history as obnoxious as Trillanes, even as he doesn’t have any intellectual or oratorical brilliance as Senator Ninoy Aquino did in his heyday to compensate for his meanness.
He is a brat, the prototype of the egotistical millennial who thinks it will be merely a matter of time before he becomes President. He humiliated former Armed Forces chief of staff and defense secretary Angelo Reyes—whose military rank was eight rungs above that of Trillanes—and drove him to suicide.
While it is said that every senator believes he or she has moved into the nation’s political Olympus, giving him a crack at ruling the country— since the votes for him or her theoretically are within striking distance of the votes that would make a President—Trillanes believes in his heart that he is destined for that post.
This happens, as in Hitler’s case: The sequence of a person’s utter failure, imprisonment, and triumphant victory does strange things to some people, like believing they are destined for greatness.
Trillanes launched the Oakwood coup attempt in 2003, stupidly believing that political leaders and the people would support obscure and insignificant captains and colonels, and would make him a member of what would have been the Philippines’ first junta. He surrendered in a day’s time, and was thrown in jail. He tried another coup in his preferred venue for rebellion, another five-star hotel, failed again, but still lived.
Yet, instead of rotting in prison, he got to be elected as senator in 2007, the result of the Yellow Media’s romanticization of him as the young rebel against a President demonized as corrupt by the Yellow Cult and the secret massive financial massive support of Mar Roxas and, reportedly, of ManuelVillar.
Trillanes becomes senator at 36, a year older than the second youngest senator ever. Who was the youngest? Sen. Benigno Aquino, Jr. I think that cemented in Trillanes’ mind that he is destined to be president, and soon. Indeed, he believed that his platform would be the vice presidency which he thought he’d win last year.
His megalomaniacal drive to be president explains everything that Trillanes has been doing in the Senate, which is to throw chairs and tables all over the place so he’d always be in the newspapers’ front pages, which he thinks would be enough to be president in 2022.
Trillanes though would certainly have a place in our history. He will be in a footnote that reads: “The Senate was abolished in 2019 through a constitutional amendment, supported by an overwhelming majority of Filipinos, who felt that there should no longer be such a venue for an odious politician like Antonio Trillanes 4th.”