MANILA - (UPDATED) Senator Richard Gordon on Thursday moved to cite Senator Antonio Trillanes in contempt and threatened him with an ethics complaint after they traded barbs during a hearing.
After questioning private broker Mark Taguba regarding the supposed "Davao Group," which was allegedly linked to presidential son, Davao City Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte, Trillanes asked that the younger Duterte and his brother-in-law, Manases Carpio, be invited to the next hearing on the P6.4-billion drug shipment from China. The motion was approved by Gordon.
"Itong ibang resource persons dito, they were invited quietly at wala namang nangyari. Bakit suddenly masyadong jittery or bina-badger yung nagsasabi?," Trillanes told Gordon's committee.
Gordon asked him to clarify if he and Majority Leader Senator Vicente Sotto are being referred to, and Trillanes said: "If you feel alluded to, then that’s your problem."
"You’re so fond of making names here, making general statements. If you want to make general statements, you better prove it. This is the Senate of the Philippines; this is not a cockpit of chismis. We are here investigating real things. Wag nang magdadaldal dito ng hindi mo nalalalaman," Gordon replied.
The Blue Ribbon Committee chair then ruled Trillanes "out of order" and suspended their hearing.
Despite the suspension, Trillanes spoke on his microphone and said: "Nagiging komite de abswelto ang Blue Ribbon Committee."
This statement irked Gordon, who moved that Trillanes be cited in contempt, but the former soldier objected.
"I made an objection, your honor. You are not a one-man committee here," said Trillanes.
This further angered Gordon, who then said he will file an ethics complaint.
"Yes please do so. I welcome that," answered Trillanes.
"The gentleman has been accusing everybody in the Senate of everything. In the past, you got away. Senator Zubiri and you almost got into a slugfest," said Gordon.
"I am asking the Majority Floor Leader to convoke the Ethics Committee and I will file personally an ethics committee case against the gentleman from Bicol," he said.
Upon resumption of the hearing, Gordon told Trillanes to "behave himself, otherwise I will put the sergeant-at-arms before him."
But Trillanes objected anew what he said was Gordon's "irrational ruling and behavior as chairman of this Blue Ribbon Committee."
Gordon took exception to Trillanes' words, insisting that he has "always acted rationally."
"You have been doing a one-man show, a monologue for these several hours. I believe that is not normal," said Trillanes, but he was dismissed by Gordon.
"I will not dignify your 'one-man' statements or observations that are completely out of order. The trouble with this gentleman is whenever he doesn't like it, he will conduct a coup, and then he will be forgiven and then he will go to the cell and then he will conduct another coup, and then he will be forgiven again," Gordon told the ex-mutineer.
Trillanes fired back: "Eh ikaw, nag-barricade ka sa Subic just to hold on to your position. That's pathetic, Mr. Chairman."
The fiery statements from the two legislators prompted Sotto, chair of the Ethics and Privileges Committee, to stand between them and say: "Napaka-unparliamentary ng nangyayari dito."
The parts of their exchange was not audible without the microphones, but Sotto later moved for the suspension of the hearing, which Gordon granted.
The three men huddled until Gordon and Trillanes moved to separate directions.
Trillanes left the hall and spoke with some reporters until Gordon called for the resumption of the hearing.