February 5, 2012
Trillanes to Suarez: Stop lying
Senator Antonio "Sonny" F. Trillanes IV has taken House Minority Floor Leader Danilo Suarez to task and told him to stop lying in his effort to persuade House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte to allow former President and Pampanga Representative Gloria-Macapagal Arroyo to continue functioning as a lawmaker even during her incarceration by ensuring her access to a laptop and mobile phone.
Trillanes said that it is not true that he was allowed by his former custodians access to computers and mobile phones during the first half of his six-years term, which he served while under detention first at the Marine Brig in Fort Bonifacio, Taguig and later at the PNP Custodial Center in Camp Crame, Quezon City from July 2007 to December 2010.
"While I do not begrudge Rep. Suarez for asserting Mrs. Arroyo's right to serve as an elected representative of Pampanga, he should at least get his facts straight. Contrary to his claim, I was never declared guilty by any court of any offense. Likewise, Mrs. Arroyo's government did its best to make it difficult if not impossible for me to work while in detention. It is not true that they allowed me to use mobile phones and computers. They also banned me from receiving guests and holding committee hearings while under custody," Trillanes said.
"I was able to work because of sheer determination and persistence and because of the hard work of my staff. They brought documents to and from the Senate almost everyday and found ways for me to stay in touch with my colleagues and constituents. Admittedly, there were a few times that we were able to secretly bring in mobile phones and laptops but it was against the wishes and not with the consent of my custodians. In fact, our quarters were regularly subjected to periodic searches because of that," Trillanes added.
Trillanes said that it was only upon the assumption of President Benigno S. Aquino III in July 2010 when his custodians began relaxing the rules and allowed him to conduct Senate committee hearings at his place of detention.
On the issue of the request for continued hospital detention for Mrs. Arroyo, Trillanes said that if Mrs. Arroyo is no longer sick, there is no reason to allow her to continue staying at the Veteran's Medical Center.
"If she is still sick and doctors so recommend, then by all means, let her stay at Veteran's Medical Center," Trillanes said. "However, if she is already well, there is absolutely no reason she should be allowed to continue to stay at the hospital. That would clearly be giving her special treatment. In our case, we were in fact initially kept in solitary confinement at the ISAFP. Later on, we were detained with the general population of detainees at the PNP Custodial Center in Camp Crame despite the political nature of our offense," Trillanes added.
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