Antonio Trillanes IV, who rose to national prominence as the spokesman of the young rebel soldiers who staged the so-called Oakwood mutiny on July 27, 2003, is now a senator of the Republic. He was proclaimed at the Commission on Elections earlier today.
Trillanes’ inclusion in the list of winners in the senatorial race came as a surprise for many reasons: one, he consistently ranked outside the magic 12 in the pre-election surveys of SWS, Pulse Asia, and other polling firms; two, he was in detention and was not able to campaign; and of course, the Magdalo’s method was regarded by many as too radical.
Despite all these, Trillanes still made it. The people seemed so united in placing the rebel, who is a graduate of the Philippine Military Academy and the University of the Philippines, to the upper house of Congress.
Senator Trillanes’ proclamation was hailed even by the leftists, according to a GMANews.tv report.
“The votes for Trillanes are undoubtedly votes against the Arroyo regime. He is the most vocal in calling for the ouster of Arroyo,” Bayan chair Carol Araullo said in a statement.
For their part, the Partido ng Manggagawa said: “We believe workers, together with the people, supported the campaign of Trillanes because they found him credible as a modern-day rebel with a cause. The workers expect Trillanes to take up the cause of the workers as much as of the soldiers and the people.”
In an interview with reporters, Senator Trillanes said his victory “is solely the people’s victory.”
“Wala akong gagawin kundi suklian ito ng serbisyo publiko (I will return the favor with public service),” he said.
Among the Magdalo soldiers, it was Trillanes who is most consistent in his anti-Arroyo stance. He vowed to work for Arroyo’s ouster and promised to leave his pork barrel untouched.
In the circus that was the Philippine 2007 national elections, Trillanes’ victory–like that of Isabela Gov. Grace Padaca and Pampanga Gov. Fr. Ed Panlilio–is an oddity. Yet, it reflects a little ray of hope in the usually pointless political activity: People Power–genuine people power–could sometimes be demonstrated in the Philippine elections.