Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Was "senator" Antonio Trillanes IV ever a soldier?

Trillanes is "no longer a soldier", according to Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile who also excused the newbie "senator's" ignorance of Senate "rules" for his appalling behaviour in a Senate "inquiry" that is widely seen to be a factor that contributed to former Secretary and retired General Angelo Reyes's death by suicide on the 8th of February. Enrile also delved into Trillanes's inner anger from which most likely arose his inclination to treat the probe into corruption in the Philippine military as a personal matter...
[...] Trillanes felt strongly about the issue being heard.

"He was incarcerated for 7 years precisely because of the very issue that was in front of him at the time we were hearing the case in the Blue Ribbon Committee: corruption," Enrile said.

Angry kid. That is what "senator" Antonio Trillanes IV apparently is.

But to his former classmates in the venerable Philippine Military Academy (PMA), Trillanes has become a likely candidate for earning the distinction of persona non grata owing to his "uncavalier" behaviour (PMA alumni refer to themselves as "cavaliers"). Unlike many conventional professions, the men and women who serve and have served in the military form a very tight brotherhood -- a world that is often beyond the comprehension of most ordinary civilians. Most soldiers had faced death together in combat and formed bonds under the extreme duress of life-and-death situations.

Being shot at or stabbed at by another human being you hardly know but is nonetheless intent on killing you is an experience most civilians won't ever face in their lifetimes. Likewise having to kill another human being you also hardly know sometimes while staring him or her in the eye is an extreme experience that changes people. Relationships forged in such situations are in a class by itself.

Consider then Enrile's words:
Having been granted amnesty for coup plotting and now already covered by parliamentary immunity, neophyte Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV cannot be censured by anybody, according to Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile.

“He’s now covered by a different rule. As a senator of the Republic, he can’t be questioned on any speech or debate done by him inside the confines of the Senate as a senator,” said Enrile.

It gives a more profound meaning around the words "no longer a soldier". Perhaps Enrile has it only half-right and we should go one step further and ask:

Was "senator" Antonio Trillanes IV, ever a soldier?

That this "senator" as a member of (but not necessarily a soldier in) the Armed Forces of the Philippines showed consistency as a serial offender as far as breaking ranks and thumbing his nose at the chain of command will have already answered this question back in 2007. The way he treated Angelo Reyes -- a senior soldier -- in an otherwise pointless Congressional exercise further crystallises what our answer to that question might be.

To real soldiers, the answer is most likely a no brainer...
Senator Antonio Trillanes 4th, a member of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) Class of 1995, faces punishment from his fellow PMA graduates for humiliating a senior officer—late former Armed Forces of the Philippines Chief of Staff Angelo “Angie” Reyes—during a recent Senate inquiry.

“Even some of his [Trillanes] classmates did not like what he did to Angie Reyes,” they will go with punishing the senator, another former military chief of staff—Gen. Dionisio Santiago—told editors and reporters of The Manila Times during an exclusive roundtable on Monday.

It was not clear, though, what the punishment would be.

According to Santiago, many of the cavaliers or PMA alumni would shy away from Trillanes as a sign of protest to the alleged arrogance he displayed against Reyes, a member of PMA Class of 1966, when the former Armed Forces chief appeared on January 27 before the Senate blue ribbon committee.

Suffice to say, Trillanes's high-profile rampage supposedly against corruption in the Philippine military is starting to become a lonely one. For now he enjoys the support of the Senate President himself who had gone out on a limb to defend the boy-"senator". But this is politics. At some point, propping up a political liability simply becomes senseless.

5 comments:

  1. The question is: Was Gen. Reyes ever a soldier? As far as i know, when he graduated from PMA he was seldom assigned in the field. I doubt if he ever went to battle together with the soldiers. Let us not forget the millions of pesos of military funds who went directly to the pockets of some generals including Gen. Reyes. These funds could have been used to buy uniforms and equipment for the frontline soldiers who are fighting for our national security.

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  2. Well, ok. If Gen. Reyes too was never a soldier, then that makes TWO of them. Both Gen Reyes and Trillanes were BOTH never soldiers. The more the merrier. :-D

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  3. To Anonymous:

    "As far as i know, when he graduated from PMA he was seldom assigned in the field. I doubt if he ever went to battle together with the soldiers."

    you don't know much then, do you?

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  4. "To real soldiers, the answer is most likely a no brainer...

    Senator Antonio Trillanes 4th, a member of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) Class of 1995, faces punishment from his fellow PMA graduates for humiliating a senior officer—late former Armed Forces of the Philippines Chief of Staff Angelo “Angie” Reyes—during a recent Senate inquiry."



    So that makes someone a real soldier. One who chooses to remain mum "in respect" of military echelon. When he was installed as Senator of the land, Trillanes consequently chose to speak up for the people, notwithstanding stuffy and dumb military traditions.

    It is the people who merit respect not those corrupt military generals.

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  5. I had drinking sessions with 2 high school classmates who are members of the Philippine Marine Corps. They told stories that this guy Trillanes is a non-combatant personnel whose role in the military is to rotate tora-tora and other airplanes' propellers to make the engine start.

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