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Trillanes, Loida Lewis ‘persona non-grata’ in Davao City

By Ted Tuvera and Angie M. Rosales

He should not be allowed to step into Davao City, which is considered by most as Duterte country, but he would still be allowed to do so, although he may be snubbed by the Davao City residents.
Davao City’s city council on Tuesday declared Sen. Antonio Trillanes “persona non grata” for portraying the city as the most dangerous in the Philippines and likening Dabawenyos to North Koreans who are easily brainwashed by President Rodrigo Duterte.
The city council also declared New York-based Filipino businesswoman Loida Lewis persona non grata.
Lewis was recently accused as one of those allegedly behind the International Criminal Court’s (ICC) decision to investigate the extrajudicial killings in the Philippines.
Vice Mayor Bernard Al-ag explained in an interview that as persona non grata, Trillanes is not welcome in Davao City.

“He is not needed here,” Al-ag said.
The Vice Mayor said he understands the politics of Trillanes and his political ambitions by attacking the President, but it is not acceptable to destroy the city and the people of Davao.
Al-ag asked the city council to declare Trillanes as such following the senator’s statements before the Filipino community in Chicago.
The vice mayor’s call was unanimously backed by the city councilors.
“It was totally unacceptable. I am speaking on behalf of the Dabawenyos,” Al-ag said.
“This is an insult to the 1.6 million Dabawenyos who are working hard everything to make our city safe,” he said.
In a video shared on social media, Trillanes was seen and heard telling the audience that Davao City is number one in murder and rape in the Philippines allegedly based on a December 2015 data of the Philippine National Police (PNP).
“In fact, it is actually the most dangerous city in the Philippines,” Trillanes said.
“But those in Davao are so brainwashed into believing it is the safest city not only in the Philippines but in the world.
“They are like North Koreans. It’s like that…it’s the thing there…that’s happening there that you can be bought,” Trillanes added.
Trillanes also described Davao City has having the worst traffic,too many poor urban communities and garbage.
He compared it to General Santos City which is peaceful and with good urban planning.
Al-ag expressed his disgust at Trillanes’ description of Davao City.
“As a Dabawenyo, I take offense to the declaration of Mr. Trillanes. This statement is offensive, malicious and pure lies. In short, this statement is not true. This is fake news,” Al-ag said in a privilege speech at Tuesday’s city council regular session.
“Mr. Trillanes went to the United States of America just to portray Davao City as a dangerous place – a place full of criminals, a city of murderers, a city of rapists,” Al-ag said.
Al-ag asked that if Trillanes’ basis was 2015 data of the PNP, why would the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) award Davao City with a Seal of Good Governance (SGLG)?
“The DILG then was headed by Secretary Mar Roxas, an ally of Trillanes.
“We even received five million pesos cash reward from DILG as part of the award,” Al-ag continued.
Al-ag emphasized on peace and order as one of the core assessment areas. The other two cores are business friendliness, and competitiveness and environmental management.
“I think Mr. Trillanes is confused about his role as a senator of our country. A senator is mandated by our Constitution to legislate policies to preserve and protect the lives of the Filipinos,” he said.
“What are you doing Mr. Senator? Instead of preserving our lives, you are destroying our city. Instead of protecting the Dabawenyos, you are mocking the intelligence of Dabawenyos,” Al-ag quipped.
Al-ag challenged the Filipinos in Chicago to visit Davao City.
“Try riding our taxis, our jeepneys, try walking in our streets in the middle of the night, try eating in restaurants and carenderias, try going to our police stations,” he urged.
“And if you feel and think that Davao is a city of murderers and rapists as what Mr. Trillanes declared, I will refund all your travel expenses plus pocket money going back to Chicago,” he added.
Al-ag hit back at Trillanes as the most dangerous (person).
“You are a dangerous person. Every word you utter is intended to destroy lives. Your words impeded the ability of every Filipino to love his country. Your action destroys a community,” Al-ag blasted Trillanes.
He recalled that Trillanes destroyed Oakwood Hotel in 2003 and the Manila Peninsula in 2007.
“Now you want to destroy my city? No way! You want to destroy my people? No way!” he declared.
Al-ag said Trillanes is bound to fail.
“You will not succeed in destroying the Dabawenyos. You will not succeed in destroying our beloved President Rodrigo Duterte,” Al-ag declared.
In a statement, Trillanes said Mr. Duterte’s minions reacted out of being offended by the truth.
“The truth definitely, hurts... The people of Davao either know it but tolerate it out of fear or they’ve actually believed the lie that was fed to them that Davao City is the safest city in the world,” the lawmaker said in a statement.
Trillanes made this clear as he stood pat on his statement made last year, belittling the tag given him by the local executives, expressing belief that such could not be a reflection of the sentiments of the people of Davao City.
Asked to comment on the Davao City council’s resolution on Trillanes, Mr. Duterte’s spokesman Harry Roque briefly replied: “ Congratulations, Davao City.”
No apology from Trillanes
There’s no apology forthcoming from opposition Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV over his description on Davao City as “the most dangerous city in the Philippines” which prompted Davao City Council declare him persona non grata.
Trillanes made this clear as he stood pat on his statement made last year, belittling the tag given him by the local executives, expressing belief that such could not be a reflection of the sentiments of the people of Davao City.
“The truth definitely, hurts. The people of Davao either know it but tolerate it out of fear or they’ve actually believed the lie that was fed to them that Davao City is the safest city in the world,” Trillanes said.
Davao City Vice Mayor Bernard Al-Ag said the Davao City council declared Trillanes and Filipino-American businesswoman Loida Nicolas-Lewis as persona non grata during a regular session recently.
The council took into account the senator’s statements made last year and his pronouncements made in his speaking engagements abroad describing Davao City negatively, Al-ag said.
The senator, however, will not be banned from entering the city despite the persona non grata status.
The senator explained that his statement made in July last year, was based on the Dec. 2015 statistics of the Philippine National Police (PNP).
Records from the PNP showed Davao City having the highest incidence of murder and second highest in rape cases in 2015, he said.
In a news forum at the Senate in July 2017, the senator disputed the assertions of supporters of President Duterte and the Chief Executive himself on the prevailing situation in Davao City.
Despite this development, Trillanes said he will still go to Davao, if need be, especially if he has to attend to the civil case filed against him before the Davao City Regional Trial Court(RTC) by resigned Davao City Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte and presidential son-in-law, Atty. Manases Carpio.
“If there is a court hearing I am obliged to go there, so I will go there,” Trillanes said.
“I don’t have anything against the people of Davao. If at all, they are the victims of the harsh governance style of Duterte. One thousand plus who were killed there.
“I only told the truth. When I say GenSans is better than Davao, that’s my opinion. And don’t take my word for it. Go there and you will see the difference,” he said.
Trillanes said he will not apologize for his remarks as he expressed belief that the declaration of the Davao City Council is a reflection of the sentiments of the Davaoenos.
“I refuse to believe that I offended the people of Davao. They know the real situation there,” he said.
Besides, Trillanes said he does not have any plans in the near future in setting foot in the known turf of his political foes.
“I refuse to go there because this is not about me and the people of Davao.
So I won’t go there,” he said.
Paolo Duterte and Carpio, husband of Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte, filed a civil case against Trillanes last Dec. in Davao RTC in connection to the latter’s claims alleging their involvement in the smuggling of P6.4 billion worth of shabu from China.
Trillanes still insists
on Senate probe on Rody
Trillanes is bent on having the issue on the alleged secret bank accounts of President Duterte not only investigated in the Senate but pursued, not by the blue ribbon committee of Sen. Richard Gordon but by the committee on banks, financial institutions and currencies chaired by Sen. Francis “Chiz” Escudero.
If need be, Trillanes told reporters in an interview, he will insist on having his resolution No.602 which subjects the President and his daughter, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio to a probe in the Senate, carried out in a separate proceeding by the banks committee as “secondary committee.”
“Well I will question the referral (to the blue ribbon),” the senator said even as he bared plans of seeking Escudero to settle the issue “internally” as the issue could only result to protracted debates if brought on the floor.
Trillanes pointed out that Duterte’s case is similar to that former Commission on Elections (Comelec) Chair Andres Bautista who, at the time when the issue on his alleged undisclosed bank accounts came out, was also an impeachable official and the subject matter was taken up by the banks committee, not the blue ribbon.
“So I don’t see any difference and Sen. Chiz is willing to hear it then what could be the problem?” he said.
Trillanes said there had been a precedent when the late Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago, whose committee was referred as a secondary committee, carried out a separate proceeding on the same issue tasked to be handled by the primary committee.
“I will keep on trying. I will not withdraw the resolution,” he said.
Besides, Gordon does not seem interested in conducting the investigation.
Trillanes also said he expects the issue to be either covered up or whitewashed if he will allow his resolution to be handled by Gordon as seen in the issues handled in the past by the latter.
Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III said such set up eyed by Trillanes is feasible, yet he expressed doubts whether such undertaking will prove to be fruitful, if not worth the effort given that it has long been “exposed” but not have not been proven to have solid grounds.
Personally, Sotto said he does not see Trillanes’ called inquiry yielding “positive” results.
“That has been an issue against the President since 2015. That probe won’t get anywhere. Even the AMLC already said that the bank records presented by the Ombudsman are faked. They are the same fake records submitted by Trillanes to the Ombudsman.
“It’s a waste of time.” Sotto said.
But as to the status of Trillanes’ resolution, Sotto said Gordon promised to take up the matter with his members in the blue ribbon committee, whether they should proceed with the called probe or not.
As to having the secondary committee carry out a separate probe, Sotto said it’s possible but only if it has the “blessings” or allowed by the primary committee, which is the blue ribbon.
But when it comes to the panel report, the primary committee’s findings and recommendations will have to take precedence over the report of the secondary committee, the majority leader explained.
Trillanes also took a dig at Solicitor General Jose Calida who claimed that his alleged evidence against Duterte is mere “garbage.”
“If what I have is nothing but garbage, then why are they panicking? And why can’t Mr. Duterte just accept my challenge for him to sign a waiver and if I am wrong in my allegations then I would resign immediately as senator and voluntarily walk in any jail of his choice?” he said.     With PNA

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