MANILA, Philippines – After catching the ire of his colleagues for calling them “wimps” and “lapdogs” of the Duterte administration, Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV on Tuesday said he would “welcome any ethics complaint” that would be filed against him in the Senate.
He issued the statement after Sen. Joseph Victor “JV” Ejercito said that Trillanes’ actions should be referred to the Senate Ethics Committee as he “is becoming damaging to the institution” and “destructive to the country.”
But while Trillanes is open to being investigated and disciplined by the Senate panel, he said the Upper Chamber would “really have a problem” if senators like Ejercito were getting upset by his statements but were not troubled by President Rodrigo Duterte’s rape comments.
“But here’s the thing, if Sen. Ejercito believes that my statement that the Senate is becoming a lapdog of the Duterte administration is highly offensive yet sees nothing wrong with Duterte’s rape comments to the soldiers, then we really have a problem,” said Trillanes.
Last May, days after declaring military rule in Mindanao to address the crisis in Marawi, Duterte sought to reassure soldiers who might be accused of committing abuses under martial law and jokingly said that if any of them were to rape three women, he would personally claim responsibility for it.
“If you go down, I go down. But for this martial law and the consequences of martial law and the ramifications of martial law, I and I alone would be responsible, just do your job, I will take care of the rest,” Duterte said.
“I’ll imprison you myself,” he said, referring to any soldiers who commit violations, then he joked: “If you had raped three, I will admit it, that’s on me.”
Besides Ejercito, Sen. Panfilo Lacson also got irked by Trillanes’ harsh remark against his colleagues.
“Calling one’s own colleagues ‘cowards’ or ‘puppets’ wholesale and without qualifying, is the darndest thing he can do,” Lacson said on Monday.
“I don’t know where he is coming from and I’m not even sure if he is still rationale in his thinking,” said Lacson. “One thing I’m sure about, he is dead wrong.”
On Tuesday. Sen. Vicente “Tito” Sotto joined the fray.
“I do not know his reasons for saying that. He should be careful in calling us names,” said Sotto.
“Hindi ko s’ya papatulan sa ngayon. Pero ipapaalala ko lang [I won’t pick a fight with you. But I just want to remind that], when you point a finger at others, three fingers point at you,” he added.