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Pathetic antics

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The camp of putschist-turned lawmaker Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV is back in its old dissembling ways, in a vain attempt to portray itself as persecuted martyr for democracy when in truth it is just plain opportunist.

This time, it was through pathetic antics obviously meant to influence the decision of the Makati Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 148 handling the motion of the Department of Justice (DoJ) to reopen coup d’ etat charges against the senator and order his arrest.

On Monday, Trillanes’ supporters sent bouquets of flowers and letters, left in the hallways on the 14th floor of the Makati City Hall of Justice in front of the office of RTC Branch 148 Judge Andres Soriano. The flowers came with tags bearing the words “rule of law,” “truth,” “fairness,” “hope” and “legacy.”

For the flower stunt, Trillanes’ supporters could be cited for contempt by the court, according to Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra.

“That’s exactly the kind of pressure that has been exerted upon Judge Soriano. Some people have made it appear that any ruling against Senator Trillanes will be a deathblow to democracy and the rule of law,” Guevarra said.

He noted that even a first-year law student knows that such acts tending to influence the decision of the judge are a clear and punishable case of contempt of court.

What made it crystal clear to be a deliberate ploy to sway the court’s decision was the statement Magdalo partylist Rep. Gary Alejano issued just a day before.

“We have information that the pressure on him is really intense,” Alejano said at a news forum at the University of the Philippines Hotel in Quezon City.

But Alejano cannot support with specific details his outrageous and patently malicious accusation.

“We know that the current atmosphere is instilling fear among the people so that is where they are coming from — do not oppose us, do not step on us because we can always get back at you,” was all Alejano could say.

Guevarra said Alejano’s unfounded remarks proved the camp of Trillanes “is the one clearly trying to influence the decision-making of the judge.” In contrast, he noted that the DoJ has not engaged it in sub judice argumentation in the media.

He maintained the DoJ does not interact with the judge, except through pleadings filed and arguments raised in open court.

To digress, Alejano — like Trillanes, obviously feels no compunction over the failed military adventurism of the Magdalo putschist group.

“No regrets, it was worth it, because before we decided to do it, we exactly knew the consequences of our actions,” Alejano said in a TV interview last July.

That is precisely one of the reasons President Duterte issued Proclamation 572 on 31 August this year, revoking the grant of amnesty to Trillanes. The proclamation noted that Trillanes did not actually file the required application for the grant of amnesty and did not admit guilt in his role on the 2003 Oakwood mutiny and the 2007 Manila Peninsula siege.

Alejano, who is running for senator in the 2019 elections, exhibits the same tendency of Trillanes to hurl baseless accusations at the Duterte administration to get media attention in the hope of boosting their political ambitions regardless of the negative consequences to the country’s national interest.

For instance, last June Alejano alleged that President Duterte ordered a stop to patrols in the West Philippine Sea and that China has taken control of the disputed Sandy Cay, prompting Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano to call him a “liar.”

Cayetano slammed Alejano for using the country’s territorial row with China to undermine the Duterte administration.

Going back to the latest caper of Trillanes’ camp, it only betrays its panic over an impending verdict in favor of the government as it failed to provide any definitive evidence to prove the senator indeed filed an application for amnesty.

Its stunts evoke memories of the story about the advice law professors supposedly offer to new lawyers on their first case trial: “If you’re strong on the facts, pound on the facts. If you’re strong on the law, pound on the law. If you’re not strong on the facts or the law, just pound on the table.”

And that’s what Trillanes’ camp is doing — just making desperate noises.

By all indications, Trillanes is headed for jail. Alejano, who ranked 31-35 in the recent Social Weather Stations senatorial survey, is likely to end up in the dustbin of our political history.

A lot of Filipinos would surely welcome such development and say: Good riddance!

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