Treachery on tour

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On the virtual eve of what is expected to be a highly charged campaign, while he is not a candidate for the 2019 midterm elections, Antonio Trillanes suddenly wants to go on an international speaking tour. He claims he’s been invited to speak before various groups. Given that he’s out on bail what doubts were immediately raised are not unfounded.

Consider the following:

One, campaigning entails fund raising especially critical for a decrepit political party desperate to regain a congressional foothold enough to obstruct the administration’s agenda. Pay-for-Play talk circuits have been proven fund raisers.

Two, discrediting the administration and populist democracy by painting both as tyrannical is already a Liberal Party song and dance act Leonor Robredo has been peddling on the world stage. It’s likely he will do the same.

Three, the noose around Trillanes’ neck is tightening. Simply out on bail, curtains are about to fall. While the Department of Justice considers him a flight risk, we think he’s more than that.

It is not a question of freedom of speech or his freedom to travel. It isn’t even about washing dirty linen on the global stage that shames all Filipinos and our choice of leaders, berates our passionate anti-illegal drugs advocacies and our right to protect the state when criminals wantonly take liberties against duly constituted authorities.

As a hothead mutineer, simultaneously a coup plotter, eventually escalating to an armed and dangerous putschist, Trillanes has already been granted enough legal leeway given the damage he has inflicted on our democracy. He is continuously undeserving yet we do not seem to tire from bending over.

Remember when he brandished documents alleging billions of pesos deposited in the President’s account which the bank itself had debunked? A proven purveyor of fakery and deceit, he would now have the gall to request the court’s permission to tour global boardwalks to peddle predictable perfidy and polemics.

The distrust and doubts surrounding Trillanes’ true motivations force a review of his past travel itineraries. Indeed can he be trusted with freedom and the truth?

The public’s distrust started when it had its first glimpse of Trillanes’ humongous travel expenses charged to taxpayers and ironically dispensed while incarcerated for armed rebellion.

Irony quickly turns to insult when we consider that he threatened our peace, spread fears, caused immeasurable financial costs, threw economic development a few years back, violated both the law and the Constitution and, when caught, racked up one of the highest bills charged to the same public he victimized.

In a single year, audit reports said he charged taxpayers over P17.28 million, including P250,000 for travel expenses while incarcerated. In that year there were no records of any bills passed into law with him as principal author.

During the previous administration Trillanes traveled to China at least 16 times supposedly to broker secret deals for Benigno Aquino III. His trips were labeled as “backdoor channeling,” the details of whIch were never revealed. Immediately thereafter China suddenly occupied Scarborough Shoal and barred Filipino fishermen from the area.

Last year, commenting on a trip by Trillanes to the United States where newspaper reports alleged that he was to have advised the US President to avoid the Philippines, the then Senate President said, “I hope no one else is wishing or, worse, working for ‘bad’ relations between PH and other countries like the US and EU members. If we love our country, we should always promote our beloved country’s best interest. Always.”

Whenever a public official travels on the pretext of official business these are bankrolled by the public and thus the welfare of the public should be of paramount interest. Discern the implications of Trillanes’ overseas trips. After 16 clandestine visits to Beijing, a good number of vulnerable fishermen lost their livelihood. We effectively lost Scarborough Shoal. What public interest is served where an official requests the leader of our largest trading partner to ignore the Philippines?

Treachery occurs when one vested with trust betrays and deceives those who entrust. Much more than a flight risk, Trillanes continues to be engaged in treachery in each of his foreign trips in the same manner that his treachery is integral to his crimes.

His rebellion is a continuing crime. So should we be blindly complicit?

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