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Resolution unanimously by the IPU Governing Council at its 185th session
(Geneva, 21 October 2009)

The Governing Council of the Inter-Parliamentary Union,

Referring to the case of Senator Trillanes of the Philippines, as outlined in the report of the Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians (CL/185/11(b)-R.1), and to the resolution adopted at its 184th session (April 2009),

Recalling that Navy Lieutenant Antonio Trillanes was arrested in July 2003 and, along with many others, charged with an attempted coup d’état; that while in detention he was allowed to stand in the May 2007 Senate elections and was elected, having obtained the 11th highest number of votes; that, while he was initially granted broad visiting rights and even allowed to hold inside prison a first meeting of the Senate Committee he was elected to chair, a few months after his election his situation changed drastically, making him virtually unable to carry out his parliamentary mandate; that his applications to be allowed to attend Senate sessions have been rejected at final instance; considering, however, that the terms of his confinement have meanwhile reportedly been somewhat relaxed, so that he is now able to receive staff, enabling him to file bills, resolutions and other legislative measures in the Senate; he has, however, recently not been allowed to hold a Committee hearing in prison, against which decision of the prison authorities he reportedly lodged an appeal,

Recalling that, apart from adopting resolution No. 3 “Expressing the Sense of the Senate that Senator Antonio Trillanes IV be Allowed to Participate in the Sessions and other Functions of the Senate in Accordance with the Rule of Law”, adopted on 25 July 2007, a majority of Senators (14 out of 23), in November 2008 filed Resolution No. 765 “Amending The Rules of the Senate By Incorporating A Rule “To Allow Senators to Participate in Senate sessions, Hearings and/or Meetings Through Remote or Electronic means”…”; considering that, however, the implementation of that Resolution is being delayed, reportedly owing to three Senators close to President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and that consequently Majority Floor Leader Senator Miguel Zubiri has not yet submitted the required report on the Resolution; that, despite this, the Committee on Ways and Means of the Philippine Senate carried out work on the proposed Senate Video Conferencing Project and issued its report on the matter, which was approved by the Senate President on 15 June 2009 with the necessary budget in place,

Considering, with regard to the proceedings in the attempted coup d’état case, that according to the source the prosecution, after four and a half years, finished presenting its evidence and that it is now the turn of the defence to present its evidence; that, thereafter, both sides will be given the opportunity to present rebuttal evidence, for which reason, the source fears, the case will drag on for many years,

Bearing in mind that the Philippines is a party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which enshrines fair trial guarantees and that, as a member of the United Nations Human Rights Council, the Philippines has pledged to uphold the highest standards of human rights,

  1. Appreciates the initiative taken by the Senate to amend the Rules in a manner such as would allow Senator Trillanes to exercise his mandate to some extent; deeply regrets, however, that the Resolution has not yet been implemented, which continues to prevent Senator Trillanes from exercising his mandate meaningfully and deprives his electorate of representation in parliament;

  2. Consequently calls on the competent Senate authorities to ensure that the Resolution is implemented without further delay;

  3. Remains deeply concerned that Senator Trillanes has now been on trial and been kept in detention for more than six years, which period, in the light of international jurisprudence, may well violate his fundamental rights under Article 9, paragraph 3, and Article 14, paragraph 3(c), of the ICCPR;

  4. Recalls once again that it is a well-established principle that a person must be released pending trial unless the State can show that there are relevant and sufficient grounds for continued detention; continues to believe that there are ample grounds, especially in the light of judicial precedent, for Senator Trillanes’s release pending trial and, even more so, ample grounds for allowing him to conduct meetings of the Committee he chairs even inside prison, to attend Senate sessions, even under guard if necessary, and to be granted the necessary facilities to exercise his mandate meaningfully;

  5. Reiterates its wish to ascertain whether parliament has launched any investigation into the allegations of graft and corruption within the Armed Forces made by Senator Trillanes and his co-accused;

  6. Requests the Secretary General to convey this resolution to the authorities;

  7. Requests the Committee to continue examining this case and report to it at its next session, to be held on the occasion of the 122nd IPU Assembly (March-April 2010).
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