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(© 2018 Journal GlobaLinks)


CHICAGO (JGL) – Visiting Filipino Senator Antonio “Sonny” F. Trillanes, IV, told a Filipino American community forum on Friday (Feb. 9) that following the decision of the International

Criminal Court in The Hague, Netherland to conduct a preliminary examination of his group filed against President Duterte, this could force the hand of Mr. Duterte to declare martial law nationwide, “yan ang kailangan nating bantayan” (that's what we should guard against).

“Now that the ICC has recognized our communication, Mr. Duterte might be shaking in his boots or in his slippers.”

At a press conference presided over by this reporter and Marlon L. Pecson prior to the open forum hosted by the Filipino American Human Rights Alliance (FAHRA)-Illinois, Mr. Trillanes, 46, said, “preliminary examination means the ICC will first find out if there are basis for our claim against Mr. Duterte that he committed crimes against humanity and mass murder. 

The press conference was followed by an open forum held at Hana Center at 4300 North California in Chicago, Illinois. Despite the nasty weather that piled up a crippling 10-inch snow, at least 30 people were brave enough to welcome the senator accompanied by former Magdalo Party-List Congressman Francisco Ashley “Ace” L. Acedillo from the Philippines. Some schoolmates of Mr. Trillanes from the Philippine Military Academy living in Chicago area also showed up to welcome him. There were a total of 63 people who confirmed and expressed their interest to attend the event.


SENATOR ANTONIO “SONNY” F. Trillanes, IV, (second from left) responds to a question fielded from him by journalists from left Joseph G. Lariosa of the Journal GlobaLinks/philamessenger.com, Grace Garcia of Pinoy Newsmagazine, Bart SG. Tubalinal, Jr., publisher-editor of The Fil Am MegaScene, and Marlon L. Pecson (standing) also of Journal GlobaLinks during a press conference on Friday, Feb. 9, at Hana Center at 4300 N. California at the north side of Chicago, Illinois. (JGL Photo)

“If ICC makes a finding that there is basis to our claim, the next step is to conduct preliminary investigation, which is similar to filing information in a Philippine criminal court.”

The ICC could resolve the case in “a matter of months.”

Mr. Trillanes said his group was forced to file a case in the ICC when thousands of Filipinos were killed under Mr. Duterte's state-sponsored war on drugs. But the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the National Bureau of Investigation did not do anything to investigate these killings.

He said Mr. Duterte was even impeached because of these killings. But Mr. Duterte's allies who dominate Congress railroaded the impeachment proceedings and threw away the articles of impeachment.

So, “we have no other option but to resort to ICC, one of the legal modes to remove a sitting president, aside from impeachment and people power, according to the Philippine Supreme Court.”


SENATOR ANTONIO “SONNY” F. TRILLANES, IV, (fourth from right, seated) are surrounded by members and friends of the Filipino American community who listened to his presentation on Friday, Feb. 9, at the HANA Center at 4300 N. California in the north side of Chicago, Illinois. Others in photo from right seated are Yoly & Bart Tubalinal, Gigi Estilo, Sally Richmond and Amy Duplechin. Front row from right are Grace Garcia, Marlon L. Pecson, Jesse Bernales, Oliver Almonares, Joseph G. Lariosa,  Francisco Ashley L. Acedillo, and Eric Agudelo. Back row from right are Al Cabagnot, Jim Burris, Juanita Salvador-Burris, Jerry Clarito, Chip Payos, Justin Winfred, Sister Dina Bato, SP, Eliseo B. Barja, Bryan Duplechin, Devine Calo, Faye Cabrera, Maria Almonares, Amy Bernales and Jovy Agudelo. (JGL Photo)

Mr. Trillanes, whose father is from Ligao, Albay in the Philippines, said it's not enough that Mr. Duterte will say, “I did not kill those thousands. He should have stopped those killings as father of your nation, you killed your children.


“Nagkaroon ng imbestgasion ang (Senate) committee on justice (chaired by then Sen. Leila de Lima), naramdaman nila ang init, pinagkaisahan nila,walang EJK's (extra judicial killings). Libu-libo, pinagbabaril sila (ang mga biktima) parang mercenario.” (There was an investigation by the Senate committee on justice (under Sen. Leila de Lima), they felt the heat, and the committee decided that there was no EJK's.)

He said Mr. Duterte's government even ordered the killing of drug users “but there are no such crimes in the books. Besides there is no death penalty in the Philippines.

“Si Manny Pacquiao ay umaming gumamit rin ng droga. Kung natokhang yan, di wala sana tayong World Boxing Champion at Senador.” (Even Manny Pacquiao had admitted to using drugs. If he were a victim of “Tokhang,” when a law enforcer knocks on a suspected drug trafficker or drug addict's home), we would have had no World Boxing Champion nor a Senator.)


SENATOR ANTONIO “SONNY” F. TRILLANES, IV, (right, top photo) listens to the suggestion of Eliseo B. Barja (center) that the Philippine Senate should reject the proposal of the the House of Representatives to vote singly, instead of separately in case there is going to be Constitutional Assembly (Con-Ass) to consider the amendments of the Constitution while Jerry Clarito and Juanita Salvador-Burris, co-convenors of the Filipino American Human Rights Alliance, look on. Below, right photo, Chip Payos (left) reads a question from Playwright and Director Anton Juan,  tenured full professor and theatre director at the University of Notre Dame du Lac in Indiana, who wanted to attend the gathering but was prevented by the 10-inch snow. Mr. Juan, Ph. D., wanted to know from Sen. Trillanes if Mr. Duterte was protecting the “higher echelon” of drug lords while the lowly drug runners and children are slaughtered and who are their bosses as Jerry Clarito looks on. At lower left photo, Mary Ann Hidalgo welcomes Sen. Trillanes for taking a “lonely stand, we are with you. There is storm here and you are here.  Maraming salamat. (Thank you) we need you.” (JGL  Photo by JOSEPH G. LARIOSA)

Mr. Trillanes said the “Rome Statute is very clear. Lahat ng elemento doon (All the elements there) are satisfied to warrant the filing of the case against Mr. Duterte. Many Filipinos were killed without trial and we don't have death penalty."

He said his case before ICC has a better chance of gaining ground than those cases against leaders in Africa facing similar complaints before the ICC.

Unlike cases filed against leaders in African countries before ICC, Trillanes said, there is better chance for their case against Duterte to succeed “since we are an open democracy. The cases against some of the victims of EJK's were documented. Madali ma-prove ang case na ito. (This case is easy to prove.)."

When asked if he is covering up his own alleged corrupt activities particularly (Disbursement Acceleration Program) (DAP) and Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) that snared three of his colleagues to jail to get back at Mr. Duterte, Mr. Trillanes said, “If he (Mr. Duterte) has  any dirt against me, do you think, he will withhold it? This guy, Duterte, fabricated supposed offshore bank account under my name, and which he later admitted that he invented it.



AMY BERNALES pointed out to Sen. Antonio “Sonny” F. Trillanes, IV, that “China is the top source of illegal drugs smuggled to the Philippines and drug laboratories are  still rampant, quoting a spokesperson of Philippine Drug Enforcement Administration (PDEA). How come?” Mr. Trillanes said it's the irony that 4,000 were killed in legitimate police operation and 16,000 homicides are under investigation rounding up to 20,000. And worse, it's the son of President Duterte, who is involved in drug importation. And he (Mr. Duterte) did not even lift a a finger to investigate, who's behind it because it's basically looking at the mirror. The problem is it's a sham. It's not a real war against illegal drugs.” (JGL Photo by JOSEPH G. LARIOSA)

“If he has anything against me, why doesn't he expose this? He does not need to invent a bank account if he has something against me. But the thing is all these are just part of their propaganda” to discredit him before the Filipino people.


“And when I went up against Sen. (Juan Ponce) Enrile, they also implicated me on PDAF. Later, it was Enrile himself who was involved in the PDAF scam, not me. Try as they may, they cannot bring anything against me.” Mr. Trillanes, a cum laude graduate of the Philippine Military Academy, said.

When told that his critics say that he is a liar, Mr. Trillanes said, “What liar? They have to point out  where I lied. How come they turned a blind eye on the lies of Mr. Duterte? His lies are documented. There are video recording of specific lies that he made.”

When asked by Grace Garcia of Pinoy Newsmagazine if he can collaborate instead of demonize Mr. Duterte, Mr. Trillanes said, “I am a member of political opposition. In a democracy, it is my duty to criticize the abuses of the administration. Despite my role, I supported the budget. I did not  oppose the budget” of Mr. Duterte, “so I am not an obstructionist.”


FIL AM STAGE ARTIST Chip Payo singing.pngs (fifth from right) leads the community singing of a composition by Fr. Albert “Paring Bert” E. Alejo that sends a message that Filipinos are now having some awareness of what is happening around them on Friday, Feb. 9, at the HANA (Korean word for one) Center at 4300 N. California in the north side of Chicago, Illinois during a program welcoming visiting Filipino Sen. Antonio “Sonny” F. Trillanes IV. Others in photo from right are Ate/Tita Juanita Salvador-Burris, co-convenor of Filipino American Human Rights Alliance (FAHRA-Chicago), Faye Cabrera, Divine Calo, Amy Bernales, Grace Garcia, Mary Ann Hidalgo and Sister Dina Bato, SP. (JGL Photo by JOSEPH G. LARIOSA)


When asked by Mr. Marlon Pecson, co-moderator of the press conference, that according to Davao City Mayor Sarah Duterte that his SALN (Statement of Assets and Liabilities) issues hurled against the presidential daughter and the Mr. Duterte are “recycled,” Mr. Trillanes said it cannot be so because they don't answer his charges against them. “Pumirma kayo (Dutertes) ng waiver para ma-prove ninyo na hindi totoo ang aking alegasyon. (They should sign waivers to disprove my allegations.) If they prove me wrong, I will resign as a senator.”


Former (Magdalo Party-List) Congressman Francisco Ashley L. Acedillo, who accompanied Mr. Trillanes in his trip to Washington, D. C., Chicago, Illinois and Los Angeles, California, echoed the common criticism by Duterte's supporters to Mr. Trillanes: “What's common among your adversaries in Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, former Vice President Jojo Binay, Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile and Mr. Duterte?

Mr. Trillanes said, “It's a pattern. They are not paragons of public service. They are crooks. What we are doing is not easy, not pleasurable? I truly wish we could have avoided this. That I am not the one doing this.

“I have been in prison for 7 ½ years, in a way, that was a difficult phase in my life which in way made me a better man. But I don't want to go that (same route again). But we are losing by default. Somebody has to do it. So, here I am. Once we embrace that role, there is no turning back. One of us would fall and based on our track record, it was never us. We are still standing.”

When asked by Amy Bernales if China is the top source of illegal drugs smuggled in the  country and if drug laboratories are still rampant, quoting Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) spokesman Derrick  Carreon, Mr. Trillanes said, “There are 4,000 killed in legitimate police operation and 16,000 homicides are under investigation. A total 20,000. The problem persists. And worse, it's the son of Duterte who is involved in drug importation. And he (Duterte) did not even lift a finger in getting to know who's behind it because it's basically looking at the mirror. The problem is it's a sham. It's not a real war against illegal drugs.




SENATOR ANTONIO “SONNY” F. TRILLANES, IV, obliges Joseph G. Lariosa with a selfie souvenir on Friday, Feb. 9, at the Hana Center at 4300 N. California in the north side of Chicago, Illinois after Mr. Trillanes' presentation. (JGL  Photo)

“It is about striking fear in the hearts of the Filipino people so that they will not stand up against him. They will not criticize him and he will now rule like a king.”


When asked why is there no Chinese drug lord even convicted? Mr. Trillanes said, “That's a question because Paolo Duterte is a member of the Chinese triad. I mentioned that in the Senate hearing and the  number one drug lord according to the PDEA who is identified as Peter Lim is a kumpare (family friend) of Mr. Duterte.

When asked by Yoly Tubalinal, publisher-editor of The Fil Am MegaScene, how come despite reports that Mr. Duterte is a killer, people “in their 40's including my sister” are still supportive of President Duterte? Mr. Trillanes said, “being popular does not make it right. Ano ang tama (Which right) whether popular or not? Kung pumunta ka sa North Korea ni Kim Jong Un, para silang nasa paraiso na ang mga tao ay tatakotin, ikukulong ka papatayin (kung mag-rereklamo ka). (Is popularity or not, a gauge that something is right? If you go to North Korea of Kim Jong Un, people are made to believe they are living in Paradise but they are being threatened, jailed and killed if they complain.)

“Yan ay propaganda to transform na sila  sa Davao City. Pero mas maayos pa sa Gen. Santos City kesa sa Davao City. Hindi ninyo nalalaman kung sino ang gumawa ng grabeng traffic sa Davao City. Twenty (20) years anybody in this room at the head (of Davao City) will do better. (That's all propaganda to transform Davao City. But (the neighboring) Gen. Santos City fares better than Davao City. You don't know who is causing the traffic in Davao City.)

“Davao is not peaceful. In 2015, per Philippine National Police, Davao City is number one in murder; number two in rape cases. If Davao City is the safest city in the world, para silang mga taga-North Korea, maraming panlilinlang, magnanakaw at namamatay.” (They are just like those in North Korea, where natives are conditioned by propaganda, thefts and killings.)

FAHRA-Illinois is a new U.S.-based group of concerned Filipino Americans who decided to band together to promote and protect human rights for all thru civic reflection (usap-usapan  or conversation) and people working together (bayanihan), helping one another  (damayan) and by being knowledgeable and aware of the events happening here in the U.S. and in the Philippines.  

Aside from FAHRA-Illinois, the other co-sponsors of Mr. Trillanes' talk are Circa Pintig Community Theater, the Filipino American Grand Parents Association of Chicago (FAGPAC), and the Pilipino American Unity for Progress, Inc. (Unipro). (Contact reporter: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)


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