ABS – CBN - Trillanes reveals Senate 'shakedowns'

16 March 2013

(with video-http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/video/focus/03/15/13/trillanes-reveals-senate-shakedowns)

He has had his fair share of controversy but re-electionist Sen. Antonio Trillanes is not keeping mum about alleged anomalies in the Senate.

Speaking to ANC's Headstart, Trillanes said it is very important to vote for persons with incorruptible character because of various temptations facing officials.

"The problem is in the individual senator. That is why it is very important in this election to vote for character, incorruptibility of the  candidate. [There is a] tendency to abuse the position because some senators use their position to shake down businessmen. They will shake down to get, let's say shares of stock, money so they won't harass you and subject you to committee hearings. That's what they do," he said.

"The voting public should have to scrutinize whether these candidates have the tendency to be abusive and use their power to harass," he added.

He said he did not raise too much noise about the Senate "cash gifts" since he understands that it is the privilege of the Senate President to distribute the Senate savings. Trillanes and 3 other senators did not receive any additional funds last December, which were distributed by Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile.

He also said it is impossible, based on his own experience, that senators would not know where their own pork barrel is going.

He confirmed earlier reports that a "commission" could be transacted if a senator allocates funds to a bogus NGO.

"If you allocate a big amount...then you can say commissions can be transacted," he said.

Trillanes admitted that he had a falling-out with former Magdalo officer and current Customs official Danilo Lim.

He said he had heard reports that Lim is now campaigning against him but refused to say what caused the rift.

"Let's just say I got to know him and that's the reason why I got to change my impression of him," he said.

He added: "We had irreconcilable differences of principles. I can't comment further."

The senator said he believes corruption in the military has been "drastically reduced," judging by the changed lifestyles of senior military officers under the Aquino administration.

He also said he is proud of "coming full circle" by passing legislation that addressed the Magdalo group's grievances in the 2003 Oakwood Mutiny.

Trillanes is the principal author of the AFP Modernization Act, which upgraded the military's antiquated equipment. He is one of the principal authors of the Salary Standardization Law that increased salaries of soldiers, teachers and other government employees.

He also batted for an increase in the subsistence allowance and quarters allowance of soldiers.