A Christmas tribute to Trillanes


I was ambivalent when I first saw Antonio Trillanes IV on television. But there he was, a very young man, taking a clear and unequivocal stand against evil in government. My ambivalence may have something to do with four years of brainwashing called law school. Like military cadets, we were brainwashed to think that the Constitution was supreme and that change had to be through constitutional means. Never mind that as a freshman at the UP College of Law in 1986, we had no Constitution to study but for a two-page document known as the freedom constitution. Never mind too that we started our law studies with a brand new extra-constitutional regime that was the regime of Corazon Cojuanco-Aquino.
Perhaps, the ambivalence may have been due to the many coups staged against Mrs. Aquino, a regime that I was willing to die for. There too is the fact that as a high school activist, I once told a group of PMAers who hitched a ride with my family in Baguio that I hoped that they would not end up being fascists.

Law thrives though on stability. Law exists, among others, to achieve predictability. This is why an activist lawyer, which is how I would like to think of myself, appears to be a contradiction in terms. Activists seek to change. Lawyers seek to preserve the status quo through the legal fiat that the Constitution is supreme.

But there was excitement when I first saw him on television. Part of it was that he and his men were doing what I myself would want but could not do myself: to bear arms against an evil regime. But amazed as I was with the picture of more than 300 men offering their lives to rid the country of corruption, the lawyer in me could not initially fully appreciate their heroism. This explains why as I annotated one State-of-the-Nation Address immediately after the Oakwood incident with no less than Korina Sanchez, I could not articulate even a token of appreciation for what Trillanes and his men did. It took many years of my own struggle against the cheating, lying, stealing and murderous evil regime before I could fully appreciate their heroism. In fact, it was not only after I saw a video of him walking out of his detention before I could fully appreciate the heroism of Trillanes and his men.

Whenever I feel tired of standing up against evil in government and have the occasional urge to retire into the stereotype of an upwardly mobile lawyer, I think of Sonny Trillanes and the many years that he spent behind bars fighting a regime and a system that is rotten and evil to the core. Whenever I feel that this nation deserves to continue to wallow in poverty because despite a change in government, corruption remains endemic; I ask myself: what have you actually done for this country? Certainly, nothing can compared to what Trillanes and his men did: like Ninoy, they were willing to die for this country. And unlike me and others who have only raised their voice against evil in government, Sonny gave up seven long years of his youth for this country.

Sonny’s and our fight, though, is far from over. We had high hopes that President Aquino, if only because of his pedigree alone, will usher in the winds of change and actually rid this place of both poverty and corruption. We had high hopes that after nine years of unabated killings and enforced disappearances, that P-Noy, himself a victim of these killings, would put an end to impunity at last. But no, almost six months into his administration, all we see are landmines laid by the previous regime both in the Ombudsman and in court. It also does not help that there is much squabbling within Team P-Noy. And yes, in this team itself, you have recycled personalities from the evil regime, some of whom with prior record for kleptocracy parading as members of civil society. There too are virtual unknowns whom we did not see nor hear from in the struggle against the evil one. Some did nothing but claimed credit for rallies that we organized and paid for ourselves.

Sure, the fight against corruption is far from over. Sure, we continue to wallow in poverty. Sure, the killings are continuing. But for as long as we have young Filipinos willing to die for this country, there will always be hope for this country. That is the true legacy of Sonny Trillanes and his men.

But lest we forget, hero as he is, he too is human. I can only imagine Sonny’s happiness as he celebrates his first Christmas with his very young children as a free man. To Sonny, and the many heroes like him, Merry, Merry Christmas and may P Noy make do with his promises in the coming new years.

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17 comments on “A Christmas tribute to Trillanes

  1. Isaac B. Handinero, Jr. says:

    Harry, thank you and Merry Christmas & a Happy New Year.

  2. Renato Pacifico says:

    I do not know Trillanes. I know Trillanes as a serial seasonal coup-de-t’ater depending on phases of the moon. I know Trillanes from the mouths of Filipinos never bothering to read biased reporting from our idiotic newspapers that practiced self-censorship and self-idiocy. So I do not know Trillanes. Trillanes is an epitome that Philippines still has judicial system that still at embryonic stage practiced by englishchtzes speaking lawyers.

  3. Trosp says:

    Both Trillanes and Lacson are morally and politically confused persons. Just like you, they always have their versions of truth that is politically and morally convenient with their agenda.

    Derangement is all I can have in my mind to describe them. And I’ll be very polite if I’m describing them as that.

    They always depend on the seriousness and sheer volume of their accusations and not on the evidences and facts.

    You even compare Trillanes with Ninoy…are you serious?

    Jeez…

  4. Renato Pacifico says:

    Philippines is beyond repair. Filipinos are religiously and democratically irresponsible. The only solution of Philippines is to outsource the government to Vietnam. We have good intelligent people but what good are good people if 99.9999% of Filipinos are not good and ignorant?

  5. Tell me the truth says:

    Go Forward With Courage (Senator Trillanes)

    When you are in doubt, be still, and wait;
    when doubt no longer exists for you, then go forward with courage.
    So long as mists envelop you, be still;
    be still until the sunlight pours through and dispels the mists
    — as it surely will.
    Then act with courage.

    Ponca Chief White Eagle (1800’s to 1914

  6. Tell me the truth says:

    Seek the truth, Senator Trillanes, the fight is not over. Alibaba and the 40 thieves are still in congress enjoying their loot. I was wondering what this TROSP was talking about. What politically and morally convenience is he/she is talking about and whose agenda? At least, Senator Trillanes and Senator Lacson didn’t steal from the government and besides, they have the courage to expose the evil of the Arroyo regime “They always depend on the seriousness and sheer volume of their accusations and not on the evidences and facts.” Trosp sounds like the old fat and corrupt to the core Mike Jose Pidal Arroyo. FYI, Trosp, we know better, and for the Philippines to have a better justice system… simply get rid of the head of the Ombudsman and the all the justices of the “SUPREME CROOK”.

  7. Julie de los reyes aka Julie yee says:

    We need more people like you! May pinagmanahan ka talaga!
    WHO? YOUR LOLO, SENATOR JOVITO SALONGA AND YOUR AUNT, EX JUDGE LILIA LOPEZ!

    • harryroque says:

      Salamat and happy new year!

      • bICbic garcia says:

        Pls tell Harry, I like the contents of his valedictory and I appreciate very much his stand against corruption and the evil doings that the past administration has done and perhaps the present in some other personalities getting into the mainstream of PNoy’s Government masquerading as righteous and has alleged if not claimed that they too fought against the evil regime. However, giving salutation and exemplifying to high heavens, one SONNY TRILLANES, is not one among those that deserves respect. That Trillanes does not represent what he claims to be, Harry, and that I detest so much, your emulating a corrupt and undeserving person. He won because of the hatred of the Filipino people against PGMA. He represented false expectations and made a deceitful appearance,when, that TRILLANES himself is one of the corrupt and abusive military officials. His record speaks for himself. Look at the likes of DANNY LIM, GENERAL MIRANDA and a few others, whose records and persona are all unblemished, yet, they were not elected to public office, because,the hatred of the people against PGMA has waned and that a national election was then in the offing. TRILLANES does not deserved a seat in the Senate where that august chamber has reserved for itself, men and women, who are held in highest esteem by the Filipino people by whatever reason. TRILLANES rightful place is the place they call jail and in military parlance, a stockade. That should be his place and not the people’s forum, the SENATE.

      • Trosp says:

        Anyway, never mind. It’s not worth of complaining.

      • Trosp says:

        Anyway, you have your like mind readers.

      • Para sa Pinoy says:

        Then who’s deserving, you? haha! Despite being in detention Trillanes was able to perform his duties as Senator. He is far better than the other senators who are able to attend sessions but not did not even file/pass a single bill.

        Also, at least Trillanes has the balls to go out the street and let the people know of what was happening. He sacrificed seven years of his life for this courageous act.

        You dont know Trillanes for you to say that he does not represent what he claims to be.

        What have you done for this country? I bet nothing. A lot of people like you do nothing but rant.

  8. THRSHP says:

    Atty. Roque, when I read the title of this column from Herman Tiu Laurel’s column, I said to myself: “Hmm.. Looks interesting.” And so it was! More power.

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