Getting to know Trillanes at Bulong-PulunganBulong-Pulungan sa Sofitel yesterday was a getting-to-know Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV with journalists asking questions not often asked of the young senator who shot into the limelight in July 2003 when he and some 300 junior officers and soldiers made a stand against Gloria Arroyo in Oakwood Hotel in Makati.
Manila Bulletin’s Deedee Siytangco asked about the senator’s family life- wife Arlene and children, Seth and Thea.
Not many in the audience know that Arlene belonged to the first batch of female graduates of the Philippine Military Academy in 1997. She has resigned from military service and is now teaching at the National University.
Charo Yu, a supporter of Trillanes who helped arrange the senator’s guesting at the weekly media lunch forum, had to retrieve a photo of the senator and his wife from her cellphone to show Bulong regulars. “She’s pretty,” Deedee commented of Arlene.
Philippine Star’s Joanne Ramirez shared with Trillanes her aversion with coup d’etats and coup plotters being part of the Cory Aquino administration’s media office together with Siytangco.
Trillanes pointed out Cory Aquino herself was not exactly averse to participating in regime change. Prime example was EDSA One against Ferdinand Marcos and she was the prime beneficiary. She was also in the 2001 EDSA Dos against President Joseph Estrada. Cory also joined the rebellious Marines in Feburary 2006 against Arroyo.Trillanes shared with the group background on the 2003 Oakwood and the 2007 Manila Peninsula mutinies.
Trillanes said yesterday’s forum was a refreshing experience for him. He was surprised that some people think of him as “short-tempered”, as Joanne described him.
Trillanes took the opportunity to correct what is obviously a black propaganda against him aimed at his supporters in the military and the police.
Trillanes denounced lies, which he has traced to PR man hired by a senior politician, tagging him as one of the key sponsors of a bill that would substantially cut back the retirement benefits of police and military personnel, this time not just in text message s but through flyers being distributed in military and police camps.
“These desperate political enemies are continuously spreading this black propaganda to taint my reputation and undo the efforts which I have done to uplift the condition of our military and police personnel. For the record, there is no such bill filed in the legislative index of the Senate or would I have advocated for such bill,” Trillanes said.
According to Trillanes, he has always been supportive of the causes to uplift the plight of the men and women in uniform being a former member of the Philippine Navy with the rank of lieutenant senior grade. He was one of the authors of the new Salary Standardization Law which upgraded the salaries of our military and police personnel and all government employees, and the Military Service Board Law which was created to process pending claims of war veterans.
Recently, the new AFP Modernization Law, which Trillanes authored, was signed into law to extend the AFP Modernization Program for another 15 years and help the armed forces improve their capabilities in dealing with internal and external threats.
“Through the years, I have worked toward the uplifting of the lives of our military and police personnel by introducing bills which I hope would have tremendous impact on their professional and economic lives.”
Among the other measures he has put forward in the Senate for the AFP/PNP welfare benefits are:
Senate Bill No. 204 to increase the quarters allowance of AFP personnel to P5,000 for enlisted personnel, and P10,000 to P15,000 for officers; Senate Joint Resolution 5 to increase the subsistence allowance from P90 to P150 per day for AFP personnel;
Senate Joint Resolution 8 to increase the combat duty pay of PA and PMAR troops to 25 per cent of their base pay; AFP Insurance Coverage Act to grant additional P250,000 death and disability benefits, and P100,000 medical assistance to members killed/injured in line of duty;
Senate Bill No. 205 to provide payment of the arrears in the veterans’ pensions and benefits;Senate Bill No. 393 to increase the combat duty pay of PNP combat personnel to 25 per cent of their base pay;Senate Bill No. 197 to increase quarters allowance of PNP personnel; and PNP Insurance Coverage Act to grant additional P250,000 death disability benefits, and P100,000 medical assistance to members killed/injured in line of duty.
It’s understandable that the black prop is targeting the soldiers, who gave Trillanes ample support in 2007 despite the order by the Army Chief Army Romeo Tolentino to tear down Trillanes posters in the vicinity of army camps aggressive.
Results of the local absentee voting for the police, military and government personnel in 2007 showed Trillanes in the top four together with Panfilo Lacson, Gregorio Honasan, and Francis Escudero.
Trillanes also did well in precincts in the vicinity of military camps.
A straight shooter, Trillanes has incurred the ire of powerful people who have vowed to teach him a lesson. The senator trusts that the people will see through the black propaganda.