Formerly-jailed coup plotter Trillanes now embroiled in diplomatic coup blessed by Ph president

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I recall that archaic metaphor used to describe guys who are in romantic relationships with two women — they are said to be swimming in two rivers. That’s what red-faced President Benigno Simeon “BS” Aquino III is looking like now having been caught out overseeing two negotiation channels facing the Chinese government: one via what many consider to be the legitimate face of the Philippine government, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) under Secretary Albert del Rosario and another via a “backroom” crack “negotiation” team headed by Senator Antonio Trillanes.

The thing with queridas (“mistresses”) is that they tend to be aware of a far bigger picture than what the legal spouse can see. It seems (based on sketchy reports) that while the shadowy nature of Trillanes’s “mission” required that he be fully-appraised on del Rosario’s and the DFA’s position and activities, the latter (del Rosario) may have been not as well-informed.

Trillanes expressed on record Wednesday his thoughts on how del Rosario had been handling the row over the Philippines’ territorial dispute with China over Scarborough shoal, claiming that “he had been responsible for easing tensions with China after the dispute erupted in April”…

“Right now there is no more crisis involving Scarborough, but we were nearly brought to war. That was a treasonous act (by del Rosario),” Trillanes told AFP Wednesday, repeating a claim he made on local radio.

He said public statements made by del Rosario accusing China of bullying the Philippines nearly led to open confrontation.


[Photo courtesy Metro.com.uk.]

“Senator” Trillanes was one of a number of Filipino ex-military personnel who allegedly mounted a rebellion against the Philippine government in 2003 and again in 2006. The zeal with which they mounted this rebellion against the government of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo was eloquently described by Constitutional guru Father Joaquin Bernas using these words

They [the alleged mutineers] went through elaborate ceremonies which were meant to be symbolic of their noble goal. They seem to have considered their deed a patriotic feather in their cap and they will willingly assert that, yes, we did, even if we now regret having done it.

So moving, perhaps, that President BS Aquino shortly after his ascent to power in 2010 granted amnesty to Trillanes et al under the so-called “Proclamation 50”. The amnesty was based on the principles that…

(1) “there is a clamor from certain sectors of society urging the President to extend amnesty to said AFP personnel”;

(2) The Constitution says the President can; and,

(3) It is in line with Noynoys aspiring “to promote an atmosphere conducive to the attainment of a just, comprehensive and enduring peace”.

Yet, in all of the above, there was no reference to the unresolved question of Trillanes’s culpability as one of the senior officers involved in the alleged rebellions made within the tenets of Proclamation 50. Nor was the unnecessary danger he and his team had exposed innocent civilians to in the course of mounting their alleged adventurism even mentioned.

The feudal clan of President BS Aquino had, for that matter, always been sympathetic to Trillanes. Suffice to say, even under the leadership of a President who made a standing for principles as the cornerstone of his campaign, in practice, said principles ultimately take a back seat to Old Reliable Pinoy-style Petty Politics. Recall the politics surrounding Trillanes’s release back when BS Aquino and First Sister Kris Aquino were backing Kiko Pangilinan’s bid for the Senate presidency

First it was Kris Aquino trying to pay off (in political kind) senators to back Kiko Pangilinan’s bid for the Senate presidency, now his brother President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III is trying to spring another Kiko supporter – alleged rebel and “Senator” Antonio Trillanes from the slammer.

Trillanes, still the rebel leader it seems, is at it again preferring backdoors and workarounds to facing issues and challenges head-on like a true statesman. The only difference between this most recent coup d’etat and those allegedly mounted against Arroyo in the past is that the earlier supposedly enjoys the blessings of none less thant the President of the Philippines.

Allegedly, of course.

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36 Comments on “Formerly-jailed coup plotter Trillanes now embroiled in diplomatic coup blessed by Ph president”

  1. The idea of sending someone who allegedly orchestrated an armed mutiny in a civilian district for “peace talks” makes as much sense as sending Ron Jeremy to host a born again virgin convention. Then again the only thing allegedly more stupid than that is the alleged person who signed off on such an alleged decision. Is that libel?

  2. I cannot see the relation of Trillanes’ previous activities as a military man in relation to the present issue he’s confronting right now. Why go back on something that is entirely independent on the present situation? Why relate something on the present that do not clarify but instead muddy what is still an unclear issue up to now?

    Why open an old wound and irrelevant facts instead of demystifying and clearing the air to find out the real issue of Trillanes confict with Enrile regarding the China negotiation?

    You’re not helping guys when you put your personal biases in the middle of the discussion table at this early in the game. There is a time to heap and cast blame on anybody (Enrile, Noyno, Trillanes, etc.) if found necessary. Right now, your honest estimation NOT your wounded ego or personal or political leanings and favorites – which always pops out – should be the one read and seen on the board.

      1. You’re not making sense benign0. Don’t reduce the discussion to personal matters. Your personal opinion of the member of this blog should not interfere much less use by you to make a stand which is irrelevant to the issue.

        Let’s talk business and let’s remember the so-called ‘critical thinking’ this blog is so proud of.

      2. The character of the person representing the Philippines in critical talks with a foreign government. what a person did in his past will always be a factor when his character is assessed. it will always come up. so I might as well highlight it.

        deal with that.

    1. On the present issues, I agree that the issue is fresh and we are all scrambling for the details. The question is if the public will ever be privy to those details. The industry of diplomacy is built on backdoor meetings and compromises. Sometimes, we barely know what is going on until someone really spill the goods.

      To attempt to answer your first query. Trilianes is known as a military man who made a coup against GMA. His dislike of her is eminent and the reason why the people elected him in the office. Anyway, his previous actions as well as his background might have bearing on this issue. First and foremost, as a military man, his commander in chief is the president and anything the president wants, he gets it because his position entitles him to. In this respect, Trilaines might have the mindset of a military man. I think this is evident by saying that Del Rosario was a ‘traitor’ and perhaps, downgrading the position of the secretary as the alter-ego of the president, diplomat and representative of the Phils.

      With a background of what he did before his election. Trillianes (IMHO) might have been too agitated or in a rush to see action. I think he was bordering on picking a fight with anybody. The only thing that makes me confused is why is he there? Doesn’t he not trust people not to know of his contributions or the people doing the work? Also, if he has any ability to exercise diplomacy, why have never of this before? I’m sorry for the last thought. I always envisioned military men with virtue of always obeying orders or blind obedience.

      If anyone has the answer – who is on higher ground? An elected official or an appointed official?

      1. I agree with looking at it with the military framework in mind. And in my opinion he fails.

        Oakwood – he dislikes Gloria fine but occupying a commercial center armed to the teeth filled with tourists, expats and locals? Even a non military person like me understands the concept of rules of engagement.

        Peninsula- I understand a peace negotiation is kind of like choreography. But what Triallanes did that day of disrupting his own trial (disrespect to the court) and again occupying a civilian zone (rules of engagement) that neccesitated the use of a tank boggles the mind. His actions and not his words do not scream negotiation and diplomacy to me. They might to Noynoy. Is that libel?

    2. @jona-s

      Was Mr. Trillanes the epitome of a model officer and a gentleman of the Republic of the Philippines? Was he loyal to democracy, the constitution and the people he was tasked to protect? His record of coup attempts along with the formal written alliance with the NPA in Batangas speaks for itself.

      Does this and his rather limited experiences make him the best qualified to be a “secret negotiator” in closet talks that is separate and distinct from that of the recognized official in the DFA?

      Why do we have two apparently separate and distinct talks? One below ground and one above ground? What is the official policy of this administration? Split discussions will only end up in split policy decision making on this sensitive matter. Do they have something to hide?

      It is very clear in Article II, Section 7 of the Constitution: “The state shall pursue an independent foreign policy. In its relations with other states the paramount consideration shall be national sovereignty, territorial integrity, national interest, and the right to self-determination.

      1. Was Mr. Trillanes the epitome of a model officer and a gentleman of the Republic of the Philippines?

        That depends on where one stands. Since I stand in the middle, I would give Mr. Trillanes the benefit of the doubt.

        Does this and his rather limited experiences make him the best qualified to be a “secret negotiator…..”

        I don’t think his qualification as a negotiator is that important right now. Like I said, we do not completely know the details of the issue. If for you his qualification matters, for me, I’d rather focus first on what he’s doing and have done for me to get an idea of how kind a negotiator he is.

        Why do we have two apparently separate and distinct talks? One below ground and one above ground?

        Sometimes that happens, specially on complicated issues to further bring down the details of the issue to its core. Back room negotiations is not bad or wrong so long as both parties approve of it and benefit from it. Usually, it facilitates and expedite the official talks between the parties.

        1. Stand in the middle? Benefit of the doubt?

          With Trillanes’ military performance blared in your face on live TV last decade, that’s the best conclusion you can muster? I would think that those who voted for him to the senate had better intellectual capacity than you. They at least made a decision.

        2. So, what about his military performance? What’s the relevance of it on the current issue?

          You are not making your self clear so I would hold my judgment on what you are saying.

        3. Aha, back into the old tactic of changing the topic and pretending to be confused.

          You quoted Der Fuhrer’s question: “Was Mr. Trillanes the epitome of a model officer and a gentleman of the Republic of the Philippines?”

          Then you answered: “That depends on where one stands. Since I stand in the middle, I would give Mr. Trillanes the benefit of the doubt.”

          And I remarked on that answer of yours. That your non-decision on Trillanes’ past military performance which was on live television is a poor exercise of your intellect.

        4. That your non-decision on Trillanes’ past military performance which was on live television is a poor exercise of your intellect.

          So, you’re the one who should explain why so. I made my stand known, it is up to you to debunk it. Shoot!

        5. Aha, back into the old tactic of changing the topic and pretending to be confused.

          If that is your suspicion, guide me on and tell me your stand on the issue. Don’t just attack my view without explaining why. That way, we’ll both avoid getting lost and confused.

        6. Your stand is a non-stand, just to make that clear to everyone.

          There is nothing to debunk.

          I have been explaining why I call you out on that. Here it is for the third time: with what you have seen on live TV last decade, you instead would not, could not make an evaluation of Trillanes’ military performance.

          You are stuck there. I have nothing more to discuss with you.

        7. Here it is for the third time: with what you have seen on live TV last decade, you instead would not, could not make an evaluation of Trillanes’ military performance.

          You are stuck there. I have nothing more to discuss with you. – Apo Kalips

          You are the one stuck there because you failed to point out the relevance of his military performance to the China issue.

          I know you have nothing to discuss because you came unprepared. You thought it would be easy to say and allege something.

          Next!

        8. Here’s your own words:

          I’d rather focus first on what he’s doing and have done for me to get an idea of how kind a negotiator he is.

          We are talking of someone from the military, and yet you do not want to consider his military background. You’re the one who needs to explain.

        9. <

          We are talking of someone from the military, and yet you do not want to consider his military background. You’re the one who needs to explain. – Apo Kalips

          You are talk of someone from the military and I talk about someone who is a senator clashing with his fellow senator. You talk about military background, which is the past, and I talk about the recent events in the Senate which is the present. You talk about the past, the old news the irrelevant matter and I talk about the NOW. The raging issue NOW. The fresh issue NOW. And you want me to explain?!

          If there is somebody who need some explaining to do, it is you my friend. You are dragging the issue backward. Stay on topic. If you are really sure that the past is strongly connected with the present, be my guest and explain your point and prove me wrong.

          That should be the focus of the discussion.

        10. I realize that at this point, our thread of discussion is just the same as yours and benign0’s above

          I will just echo benign0’s arguments, which remained unrefuted by you.

      2. jona-s

        The thing speaks for itself. He was an enemy of the state. What he did in the past and what he did or failed to do in the present is recorded. Give a then known coup rightist(with a then formal alliance with the extreme left) the benefit of the doubt? By the way, does the magdalo-red(NPA) alliance still stand?

        His complete lack of diplomatic experience, qualification and credentials speaks for itself. What, we let a rank amateur speak for the government in “secret talks?” Is his liaison binding on China or the Philippine government?

        Are you an expert on diplomacy and foreign policy to say that backroom talks “is not bad or wrong as long as both parties approve of it…” Is this binding on both China and the Philippines despite Mr. Trillanes lacking any diplomatic qualifications at all?

        1. Once you are armed on behalf of the state ( as I paraphrase from a popular movie, don’t want to pull a Sotto) you are an instrument of policy. You don’t make policy and you can’t criticize policy.

  3. P-noy becomes more idiotic by the day. Straight after the puno fiasco we now have him screwing up international diplomacy. He is a clear and present danger to the country through his incompetent meddling.

    1. you are sending a boy to do a man’s job. Do you think the chinese are impressed by our negotiation skills!
    2. You are undermining del rosario and brady and letting the chinese know that. Bad move.
    3. It confirms an island mentality which seems incapable of dealing with other countries. This is the nth gaffe in the past 2 years
    4. You are airing dirty, and secret, laundry in public.
    5. A leopard doesnt change its spots so expect more antics from the circus clown before he fades away into retirement and oblivion.

    he must be believing the manipulated surveys.
    fortunately independent surveys will start next year – so i am told. unless the cybercrime czar shuts down the site!

    1. I just heard Lionel Richie and Diana Ross rerecorded their classic duet with new lyrics to address your concern. It is called “My Endless Flub”. Is that libel?

    2. Mere suspicion of libel empowers the state to shut down a site and “confiscate” computer systems? Is this true? Can someone post the full clear text of the cyber-crime law? DOWN WITH PRIOR RESTRAINT! DOWN WITH INTERNET TYRANNY! Duh… is this libel against natural persons?

      Where is the Implementing Rules and Regulations of the law? Not yet made daw.

  4. Jona-s…so which negotiation is official for the Government of the Philippines? And I don’t see any reason why we have to have this “secret negotiations.”

  5. If a man is happy with his wife, why in the first place will he get a querida? This was what exactly happened here. I do not know whether Sec. del Rosario is fine with this but surely it is a blow on his dignity.

    I believe Pnoy was well-meaning when he appointed Trillanes as special envoy to China. Unfornately however, the guy he appointed betrayed him and the Filipino nation.

    I am not a Pnoy fan but I do not wish his downfall by no means. He is the President of the Republic afterall. But this Trillanes should be thrown out of the Senate and let him rot in jail where he truly belongs.

  6. Trillanes is a military adventurist; and a political pawn of the Aquinos and the Cojuangcos. Bata ito ni Aquino. I’m not surprized, if the Aquinos and the Cojuangcos ordered Trillanes to mount a coup d’ etat against Gloria Arroyo. Look at the positions in the government of coup d’ etat plotters. Gen. Lim is in Bureau of Customs, getting rich. Trillanes is appointed secretly as a negotiator with China. Even, without diplomatic knowledge and experience..He ceded Philippine territories to China, for a few bananas, and he is boastful of it…The motives of Aquino are clear now.They are the instigators of coup d’ etats, as a political weapon. Coup d’ etat pays….and if you win the Presidency. Give coup plotters good positions, in the government….Aquino tactic and strategy…

  7. I have a hunch how Trillanes got to be the point man in the backdoor talks in China. First off, his length of service as a naval officer has not imbibed in him the aptitude nor has it provided him the requisite training to qualify him to be a negotiator on par with a career foreign service diplomat; moreover, it is highly improbable that he established and maintained contacts with high-level Chinese officials during his tenure in the AFP. So what catapulted this former officer into the rarefied realm of foreign affairs?

    This is where we make a turn into the murky cloak-and-dagger world. Very few people know that the security officers of a utility company come from the rank and file of the Magdalo putschists, who were accommodated and absorbed by the company at the time when it was majority owned and controlled by the State Grid Corporation of China. Why they were taken in beats me, but the advantage and the possibilities of having a select group of disgruntled military officers and men in their employ was not lost to the resident Chinese political officer. And, it is the height of naiveté to think that not one of these Magdalo officers was approached and enticed to become a spy for the Chicom. I’m not going to delve deeper into this but you can ‘volunteer’ to take it from here and use your imagination to connect the dots and discover where it will lead you.

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