Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV on Tuesday extended his condolences to the family of former Defense chief Angelo Reyes, who died from an apparent suicide, but stressed he wasn’t sorry about the way he treated the former military chief.
"I’m the kind of person who learns from lessons of life. We would have wished or preferred that things ended on a more pleasant note, [but] that’s just how life was meant to be for all of us," Trillanes told reporters hours after Reyes was pronounced dead at the Quirino Memorial Medical Center in Quezon City.
"I extend my condolences to the family of the late Gen. Angelo Reyes. We should respect their privacy," he added.
Reyes and Trillanes clashed two weeks ago at a Senate hearing on the alleged corruption in the Armed Forces in the Philippines (AFP). Reyes was accused of receiving about P100 million during his stint as AFP chief of staff, including P50 million as “pabaon" (send-off money) when he bowed out of service in 2001.
Reyes resigned as Defense secretary in 2003 in the aftermath of a military uprising where Trillanes, then a Navy officer, and more than 300 other soldiers seized a posh hotel in Makati City to condemn "widespread" corruption in the government.
Trillanes vs Reyes
Trillanes said he and Reyes clashed during the hearing because he had "to put him (Reyes) in his proper place." He also accused Reyes, his former superior in the military, as being the powerful person behind alleged plunderer Carlos Garcia, a former AFP comptroller.
Reyes had denied the accusations against him and had asked Trillanes and three other senators — Senate Pro Tempore Jinggoy Estrada, Sen. Francis Escudero, and Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago — to inhibit from the hearing for allegedly being biased. The senators denied the motion and threatened to have him and his lawyer, Bonifacio Alentajan, cited in contempt.
Trial by publicity
On Tuesday, Trillanes said he does not believe Reyes was subjected to trial by publicity. "I believe we’re not doing anything different... sad to say that was how life was meant to be for Secretary Reyes," he said.
He claimed he and the soldiers who seized The Peninsula Manila Hotel in Makati City in November 2007 — the second attempt to overthrow the Arroyo government involving Trillanes — were subjected to an "even worse" trial by publicity.
"We faced the government propaganda then... and we are still here," said Trillanes, the first Philippine senator to be elected while in detention.
Trillanes had been detained after joining more than 300 soldiers in seizing Oakwood Premiere Hotel (now Ascott) in Makati City on July 27, 2003. At the time, they were demanding the resignation of, among others, then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, whom they accused of corruption.
On Nov. 29, 2007, Trillanes and other accused mutineers walked out of their trial and marched through the streets of Makati City, calling again for the ouster of Mrs. Arroyo. They then headed to The Peninsula Manila Hotel and seized its second floor. The siege ended when government troops forced their way into the hotel and arrested Trillanes and ex-Brig. Gen. Danilo Lim.
Trillanes obtained temporary freedom in December last year.
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