'Namamahay': Trillanes bares life in Senate sanctuary

Katrina Domingo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 07 2018 03:26 PM

Senator Antonio Trillanes IV inside his office at the senate on Friday, September 07, 2018. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News

Senator Antonio Trillanes IV inside his office at the senate on Friday, September 07, 2018. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News

Senator Antonio Trillanes IV inside his office at the senate on Friday, September 07, 2018. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News

Senator Antonio Trillanes IV inside his office at the senate on Friday, September 07, 2018. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - Boxes of bottled water and food packs have been going in and out of Senator Antonio Trillanes IV's Senate office in Pasay City since Tuesday after the soldier-turned-lawmaker holed up in his workplace to avoid "illegal arrest."

Room 519 that Trillanes occupies on the Senate building’s fifth floor was divided into two: his staff’s cubicles and desks occupy the outer area, while an inner, dimly-lit chamber has served as the senator’s makeshift quarters.

The former mutineer has sought refuge in his office after the publication of President Rodrigo Duterte's Proclamation 572 that voided an amnesty.

The order directed soldiers and police to arrest the former Navy lieutenant for rebellion charges that were supposedly absolved by the 2011 amnesty.

“Dito ako natutulog,” Trillanes told reporters while sitting on a black leather couch.

“Hindi ka lang makakagulong pero pag tinaas mo paa mo, puwede na,” he said.

With heavy floor-to-ceiling curtains, a couple of large wooden desks, and lamps, Trillanes’ office has the same size and feel of a standard hotel room. But the senator says it’s far from luxurious living.

"Sa ngayon parang namamahay pa," Trillanes said.

“Kailangan may electric fan dito kasi kapag hapon na, pinapatay na yung aircon sa buong building,” he said.

Breakfast, lunch, and dinner, usually composed of rice and Filipino viands like Menudo and Adobo, are delivered to Trillanes’ office for him, his staff, and some close supporters.

Sometimes, some of Trillanes' supporters send snacks for his staff, and the media who have camped outside his office, along the Senate's corridors.

“Okay naman. Madaming nagpapadala ng pagkain kaya kailangan ko din bantayan exercise at baka lumobo tayo dito,” he said in jest.

On Trillanes’ main desk are his 2 cellphones, his trusty tablet equipped with movies, and manila envelopes which he said contains the documentary evidence that will prove that he legally applied for amnesty and he has been a civilian since 2007.

"Some of the documents were given to me by friends in the Army who are conflicted over my pending “illegal arrest,” the senator said.

A Philippine flag stands behind Trillanes’ chair, and beside it is a side table adorned with framed pictures of his wife Arlene and their 2 children.

He said his wife visits nearly everyday, while their children come on days when they have no classes.

"Ayaw naman natin ma-expose at madamay sila dito but talagang doon dinadala so kailangan magpalakas," Trillanes said.

"We've had worst experiences before that in a way prepared them for this thing," he said.

Beside the photos is a speaker and an iPod with random playlists which Trillanes said helps him relax at night.

The former Navy lieutenant said he only has 4 hours of sleep here each night. 

"We have to be vigilant, we have to be prepared for any eventuality," Trillanes said.

“Adrenaline will keep you awake,” he said.

He starts his day at around 7:30 a.m. to tend to legislative work, plan with his legal advisers, attend press conferences, and meet visitors and supporters.

Vice President Leni Robredo, who leads the opposition, was among Trillanes’ notable visitors. Robredo arrived at the Senate Thursday to express support for the embattled lawmaker and slammed the Duterte administration over the “clear harassment.”

“Robredo’s visit is morale-boosting on our part. They are doing so much by articulating yung illegality at unconstitutionality ng issue,” he said.

Trillanes said his "sanctuary" may not feel like home, but said that it was comfortable for someone who experienced life in jail for 7 years due to failed uprisings against former president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo in 2003 and 2007.

“Dati naman kaming sundalo so madali kami maka-adjust,” Trillanes said.

"I couldn't complain. Mas marami pa tayong kababayan na nahihirapan," he said.