Senate gives Trillanes rousing welcome

January 18, 2011 1:51 am 

By Jelly F. Musico

MANILA, Jan. 17 – With almost all senators present, the Senate gave formerly detained Senator Antonio Trillanes IV a rousing welcome at the resumption of the regular session of Congress on Monday.

Members of the media immediately crowded around Trillanes right after he entered the session hall together with Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile who accompanied him to his table at the right of Senator Loren Legarda.

”I’m very grateful for this opportunity. I felt a bit overwhelmed. Hopefully, in the next few weeks, I will be able to adjust,” Trillanes said in a media interview.

When Enrile issued the order to welcome Trillanes on his first session day in the Senate, Trillanes approached each senator to shake their hands, including Senator Joker Arroyo with whom the younger lawmaker is having a "word war" of sort.

”I believe it (word war) is not an issue. Primarily, most of it was provoked by the media. But I won’t blame you for that one. I’m willing to extend my hand to him,” he said before the start of the session.

Actually, Arroyo approached Trillanes after the latter went down from the podium for the reaffirmation of oath- taking before Enrile. Trillanes took his oath of office when he won the election in 2007.

Trillanes was granted provisional liberty by the court pending the approval of his application for amnesty for participating in the aborted 2003 “Oakwood” mutiny and the 2007 Peninsula Hotel siege. He is currently under the custody of the Senate.

A "word war" erupted between Trillanes and Arroyo over the former’s big expenditures despite being detained at Camp Crame for rebellion charges. The Commission on Audit (COA) reported that Trillanes spent P21.136 million in 2009, making him the fourth biggest spender in the Senate.

A total of 21 senators, including Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago who just returned from sick leave, attended the year’s first Senate session which lasted for only an hour.

Senator Lito Lapid attended for the first time since Enrile turned down his request to extend his vacation leave in the United States late last year.

Senator Serge Osmena III was not present while Senator Panfilo Lacson remains in hiding since January last year in connection with his alleged involvement in the twin killing of publicist Salvador "Bubby" Dacer and his driver Emmanuel Corbito in November 2000.

Other senators present include: Senators Gregorio Honasan, Edgardo Angara, Juan Miguel Zubiri, Jinggoy Estrada, Vicente Sotto III, Teofisto Guingona III, Francis Escudero, Francis Pangilinan, Ferdinand Marcos Jr., Franklin Drilon, Alan Peter Cayetano, Pia Cayetano, Ramon Revilla Jr., Ralph Recto and Manny Villar.

Senator Legarda delivered her sponsorship speech for Senate Bill No. 2626 or known as the Expanded Anti-Trafficking Act of 2010, while Senator Pia Cayetano also delivered her own sponsoring speech for Senate Bill 2485 or Foster Care Act of 2010. (PNA) scs/jfm

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