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Court rejects Trillanes appeal to attend Senate sessions

September 20, 2007 2:33pm

A Makati court on Thursday junked the appeal of detained Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV to attend Senate sessions and dispense his functions as a lawmaker, radio dzBB reported.

The report said the Makati regional trial court-Branch 148 ruled that Trillanes's detention would not prevent the latter from fulfilling his duties as a senator.

Judge Oscar Pimentel said if Trillanes would be allowed to leave, then that would mean the former Navy officer was a "free man," the report said.

As in his previous ruling last July 30, Pimentel stressed that the Supreme Court in 2000 prevented Romeo Jalosjos, a convicted rapist and former Zamboanga del Norte congressman, from leaving prison despite winning the congressional race.

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

Jalosjos was deemed to be under "restraint of personal liberty," the judge said, despite gaining an electoral mandate from his constituents. Jalosjos's case was on appeal at the time.

In his 11-page decision last July, Pimentel rejected Trillanes's plea for "lack of merit."

Trillanes is detained in Fort Bonifacio for participating in the failed Oakwood mutiny in July 27, 2003. He was charged with coup d' etat along with 28 other junior officers and two former enlisted personnel.

He is also undergoing court martial proceedings.

The senator wanted to be allowed to leave detention five days a week for the Senate sessions and set up an office inside the Philippine Marine Corps headquarters.

Also last July, senators 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, a former defense minister.

Trillanes's counsel Reynaldo Robles previously said he and his client were studying to file a possible motion before the Court of Appeals should Pimentel rule against the senator's plea.

During the election period this year, Trillanes twice asked that he be allowed to post bail but Pimentel denied both petitions.

Trillanes, who ranked 11th in the last senatorial polls, was not allowed to campaign before the May polls and was briefly granted a leave of detention to vote in his hometown. - GMANews.TV