While the rest of the nation waits eagerly for Dick Gordon to make good on his promise to file a case against Antonio Trillanes, many of their colleagues in the senate may not be sleeping so easy. You see, if Gordon does file the case – and we are fervently hoping that he does – it will put the other senators in a bind as to what they should do with Trillanes.
An ethics complaint can have many outcomes – from an outright dismissal of the charges to expulsion from the senate, and many gradations in between. Trillanes can be censured, or suspended, or be given some other penalty short of being kicked out that his colleagues deem fitting to his offense.
And this is where it becomes tricky.
Looking at the sentiment of the people, there is a very clear expectation that when Gordon’s complaint is brought before the ethics committee Trillanes’ fate is sealed. That his removal from the senate is a foregone conclusion, and it is merely a matter of time before this happens.
But the thing is, whether or not this actually goes down the way people expect it to, depends a lot on the other senators who have to make that choice. And it is by no means an easy decision.
I was talking to some friends in the senate and they say that at this point expulsion is unlikely. They say that a charge of “conduct unbecoming of a senator” is so generic and so mild that using it as an excuse to kick Trillanes out of the senate would open each and every senator to the same threat. In other words, the senators are afraid that if Trillanes loses his seat because of this, it might also happen to them.
And in their tiny little world that is primarily made up of what they talk about among themselves, occasionally validated by what they see and hear in the mainstream media, the sentiments of the people don’t count for shit. Whether it is about kicking Trillanes out, or tax reform, or deciding to change the name of a public school, before any decision is made, the first question will always be – how will this affect my chances of getting elected?
This is the reality we live in. Our so-called leaders are more concerned about their own political survival than doing what is good for the country.
By all accounts Trillanes has gone rogue in the senate. He has hijacked its proceedings for his own personal agenda, and has held the entire country hostage with his obstructionist antics.
He has made that august body the laughingstock of the nation, and a source of embarrassment not just for the senators – who are naturally gifted with thick skins that make them immune to shame – but also for the rest of the nation who are otherwise haplessly and helplessly forced to endure Trillanes’ constant stream of self-promotion and stupidity.
Yet despite all these offenses against the Filipino people who they claim to represent, when these senators finally decide on what to do with the problem of Trillanes, it will be their own political future that will weight most heavily on their minds.
In this regard, it is therefore our duty as the voters who hold the fate of each and every elective official of this land in our hands, to remind them where the power lies. It is not in their money or their fame, it is with us. It is with our vote – which individually may not be worth much – but collectively it can sink their careers faster than you can say recount.
For so long we have allowed these senators to commit many disgraceful acts in our name. Perhaps it is about time we yank the leash on these mad dogs and remind them who the true master is – we the people.
So, our dear senators. When the complaint against Trillanes comes before the ethics committee in the senate, we the people expect our public servants to do what is good of the nation. And so that we do not have any misunderstandings, that means kicking Trillanes out of the senate. We will not accept nor forgive any other outcome. Remember, we will hold you accountable for your actions. We are watching you.