Sen Trillanes May Be Expelled or Suspended for Disrespecting Sen Cayetano, Based on Senate Rules

Senator Antonio Trillanes IV may be expelled or suspended for disrespecting Senator Alan Peter Cayetano during the Senate hearing on the extrajudicial killings in Davao allegedly conducted by the so-called DDS (Davao Death Squad). This is according to the Senate rules concerning unparliamentary acts and language against a misbehaved senator.

As the entire nation have watched via live TV, Sen. Trillanes said, “Hindi kita papopormahin” during the break of the Senate hearing, addressing his statement to Sen. Cayetano, who initially was his seatmate. “Senador ako, binoto ako ng tao dito, di ba?” Sen. Cayetano responded, with Senator Leila de Lima in the middle pacifying the situation.

Apparently, the Trillanes-Cayetano clash started when Trillanes appeared to be irrirated on the way Cayetano has been questioning Edgar Matobato and testing his credibility as a witness. At one point, Trillanes turned off Cayetano’s microphone, and requested De Lima to declare Cayetano out of order, saying that the latter is not member of the committee.

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De Lima, who chairs the Senate committee on justice and human rights and leading the Senate hearing, called for a two-minute break as the two politically-opposite senators are starting to have a heated argument. Nevertheless, Trillanes still continued to ‘trash-talk’ at Cayetano, with the latter later deciding to move to another seat, far away from Trillanes.

And although Sen. Trillanes has apologized to Sen. Cayetano via a sorry letter this Monday morning, many people are wondering what the Senate itself can do as an action on Trillanes’ misconduct. After doing some research, we at TN found that Senate Rule XXXIV, Section 94 clear states that, “No Senator, under any circumstances, shall use offensive or improper language against another Senator or against any public institution.”

Senate Rule XXXIV, Section 97 also states that, “Upon the recommendation of the Committee on Ethics and Privileges, the Senate may punish any Member for disorderly behavior and, with the concurrence of two-thirds (2/3) of the entire membership, suspend or expel a Member. A penalty of suspension shall not exceed sixty (60) calendar days.”

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The Senate Committee on Ethics and Privileges is being headed by Senate Majority Leader Vicente “Tito” Sotto. This is the same committee that recently discusses the details of a complaint filed by Atty. Abelardo de Jesus against Sen. de Lima, who is being accused by President Duterte as allegedly involved in illegal drug trade inside Bilibid.