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Trial court junks Trillanes plea to attend Senate sessions

July 30, 2007 4:35pm

(Updated 4:45 p.m.) The Makati regional trial court has denied the petition of Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV to be granted leave from detention to attend Senate sessions and dispense his duties as a newly elected lawmaker, radio station dzBB reported.

In an 11-page decision, Judge Oscar Pimentel junked Trillanes' plea for "lack of merit," adding that the mutineer-turned-politician failed to raise enough arguments that would convince him otherwise.

Pimentel similarly denied Trillanes' request to set up an office inside the Fort Bonifacio in Taguig City where he has been detained.

Trillanes is charged with coup d' etat for participating in the failed Oakwood Mutiny of July 27, 2003. He is also undergoing court martial proceedings.

The radio report said Pimentel based his decision on a Supreme Court ruling in 2000 on the plight of former Zamboanga del Norte Rep. Romeo Jalosjos, who won in the congressional race despite being jailed on rape charges.

Pimentel was quoted as saying that Jalosjos' movement was "restricted," and as such could not just walk in and out of prison.

The report said Jalosjos was deemed to be under "restraint of personal liberty" despite gaining an electoral mandate from his constituents. Jalosjos' case was on appeal at that time.

Last week, the Senate overwhelmingly voted in favor of a resolution urging the court to allow Trillanes to attend Senate sessions.

Seventeen senators backed the resolution while four dissented.

Those who voted against the resolution were Senators Joker Arroyo, Miriam Defensor-Santiago, Juan Ponce Enrile and Richard Gordon. Their dissenting position was read on the floor by Enrile.

Meanwhile, Sen. Panfilo Lacson said the Senate can serve as co-petitioner should Trillanes appeal Pimentel's decision. Senator Jose "Jinggoy" Estrada supported the move, dzBB radio said. - GMANews.TV
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