MANILA -- Detained Senator Antonio Trillanes IV asked a Makati court hearing the coup d’etat case against him to allow him to attend the Senate's opening session on July 26.
Trillanes, through his lawyer Reynaldo Robles, asked Makati City Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 148 Judge Oscar Pimentel to allow him to attend the session, as the Senate will elect new officers of the chamber.
Senators will elect a new Senate president, pro tempore, majority and minority leaders.
Robles said his client's participation in the opening session is "particularly crucial," as only 21 of the 24 elected senators will most probably be present if Trillanes will not be able to attend the session.
A permanent vacancy was created at the Senate when then Senator Benigno Aquino III sought and won the presidency on May 10. Senator Panfilo Lacson, another member of the chamber, went into hiding early this year after a court issued an arrest warrant for his alleged involvement in the celebrated Dacer-Corbito murders.
Trillanes assured the court that he will abide by the security considerations by his custodian, adding that the Senate is a “highly-secured” facility guarded by personnel of the Philippine National Police and the Senate Sergeant-at-Arms.
A hearing on the motion is set on Friday, July 9, at 9 a.m.
Trillanes has been detained at the Philippine National Police headquarters since 2003 after he led some 300 enlisted personnel in seizing the posh Oakwood Hotel Premiere (now Ascott) in Makati to protest what they said is corruption in the government and the Armed Forces.
He later ran and won a seat in the Senate in the 2007 mid-term election despite campaigning behind bars and with little resources at his disposal.
In November 2007, he, along with former Scout Ranger regiment commander Brigadier General Danilo Lim, led a handful of renegade soldiers in yet another stand-off at the Manila Peninsula Hotel in an attempt to overthrow the administration of then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
A rebellion case in connection with the 2007 incident was filed against him and Lim before the sala of Makati City RTC Branch 150 Judge Elmo Alameda.
His previous attempt to attend senate proceedings were rejected by the court. The court said he could still carry the function of a lawmaker even in detention, aside from citing security consideration in junking his appeal. (AH/PNA/Sunnex)