Outgoing Senator Antonio Trillanes IV on Monday disclosed that Magdalo would coalesce with at least three groups critical of the Duterte administration and form a slate for the 2019 senatorial elections.
“Right now, we are in talks with the other opposition parties (and groups) kagaya ng Liberal Party, Akbayan, Tindig Pilipinas. We are expecting na magkakaroon ng isang coalition ng opposition para makabuo ng isang opposition slate sa darating na halalan,” Trillanes said during DZRH’s Isyu program with Deo Macalama and Atty. Cherryl Adami-Molina.
At the same time, Trillanes confirmed reports that Magdalo would push for the senatorial candidacy of its party-list Rep. Gary Alejano while he would not seek a public post for the meantime as he had decided to focus on his work as chairman of Magdalo.
“(N)agdesisyon po ‘yong executive committee ng Magdalo Group at si Congressman Alejano nga ay ilalaban namin ng pagkasenador ngayong 2019,”he said.
Trillanes’ group, now called the Samahang Magdalo, has transformed into a civilian volunteer group. The group was formed by dissident soldiers who staged the 2003 Oakwood against the Arroyo administration and also filed last year an impeachment complaint against President Rodrigo Duterte.
Asked by Macalama whether he would seek a party-list seat in Congress and replace Alejano, Trillanes said, “Hindi po, marami po kaming mga nominees na p’wedeng pumalit kay Congressman Alejano [No, there are many nominees who could replace Congressman Alejano.]
“Hindi naman natin kailangan ng [We don’t need] power coming from any position to pursue our advocacy,” the senator said, adding that he’s still the chairman of Magdalo and that next year, he would have more time to focus on his group’s activities as he would take a break from public office.
Afraid of Duterte’s retaliation?
Asked by Macalma if he wasn’t nervous about Duterte getting back at him while he’s not in political power, the President’s arch critic said, “Eh sabi ko nga muna, siguraduhin muna nilang aabot sila ng 2019 bago sila magbanta ng ganyan, marami ring p’wedeng mangyari [As I’ve said, they must be sure first that they will last until 2019 before they make a threat, there are many things that could happen].”
While in Vienna, Austria last month, during a a side session of the 61st annual meeting of the United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs, Trillanes assailed Duterte’s war on drugs.
“Can you imagine a president of any country who would actually cite the deaths of his own people from summary executions as an accomplishment?” Trillanes said before the UN body.
On Monday, the senator said the UN and the International Criminal Court had been continuing their investigations into Duterte’s anti-narcotics campaign, which the lawmaker claimed had caused the death of 20,000 Filipinos.
“Tuloy-tuloy po ‘yon. Sabi ko nga, ito kasi dito sa atin parang life goes on, parang walang nangyari. Pero ‘yong International Criminal Court at saka ‘yong UN High Commission on Human Rights ay nakatutok ‘yan dito sa atin….Ang sa kanila dito ‘yong accountability, sino ang mananagot do’n sa mga namatay na ‘yan. Hindi p’wedeng quits na lang kumbaga,” said Trillanes.
[The investigations continue. As I’ve said, here in the Philippines, it appears that life goes on, as if nothing happened. But the International Criminal Court and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights are focused on us…They want accountability, who should be answerable for these deaths. We can’t just call it quits.]