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Antonio Trillanes

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The Honorable
Antonio Trillanes IV
Sonny Trillanes.jpg
Trillanes in 2015
Senator of the Philippines
Assumed office
June 30, 2007
Chair of the Philippine Senate
National Defense and Security Committee
In office
July 22, 2013 – July 25, 2016
Preceded by Francis Escudero
Succeeded by Gregorio Honasan
Chair of the Philippine Senate
Civil Service and
Government Reorganization Committee
Assumed office
July 26, 2010
Preceded by Panfilo Lacson (Acting)
Personal details
Born Antonio Fuentes Trillanes IV
(1971-08-06) August 6, 1971 (age 46)
Manila, Philippines
Nationality Filipino
Political party Magdalo
Other political

Nacionalista Party (2012-2017)[1][not in citation given]
Team PNoy (2012-2013)
Independent (2007–2012, 2017–present)[citation needed]

United Opposition (2007)
Spouse(s) Arlene G. Orejana
Children 3
Residence Caloocan City
Alma mater Philippine Military Academy (BA)
University of the Philippines Diliman (MA)
Profession Senator/Legislator of the Philippines; Former Navy Lieutenant[2]
Website Official Website
Military service
Allegiance  Philippines
Service/branch Philippine Navy
Years of service 1995-2003 (8 years)
Rank Lieutenant
Battles/wars CPP-NPA-NDF rebellion, Moro Conflict, Oakwood mutiny

Antonio Fuentes Trillanes IV (/trɪljɑːnɛs/, born August 6, 1971)[3] is a retired[4] Navy officer currently serving as a senator of the Philippines. He was a candidate for the Office of the Vice President of the Philippines in the 2016 Philippine Presidential Elections.

Early life[edit]

Trillanes was born and raised in Caloocan, to Philippine Navy Capt. Antonio Floranza Trillanes, Sr. (PMA Class '59) of Ligao City, Albay, and Estelita Dia Fuentes from Ivisan,[5] Capiz. He is brother of Antonio Jr. and Antonio III.


His elementary years were spent at Siena College, Quezon City from 1975–1983, and from 1983–1987, his secondary education was at Angelicum College in Quezon City. In 1990, while a fourth[6] year BS in Electronics and Communication Engineering (ECE) student from De La Salle University on Taft Avenue, Manila, he took and passed the PMA entrance examination.

Military career[edit]

He formally entered into public service the following year as a cadet in the Philippine Military Academy where he graduated cum laude in 1995, while earning a degree in BS Naval System Engineering. Other awards he received while in PMA are the Mathematics Plaque, Physical Science Plaque, and the Tambuli Award for electrical/electronics engineering.

In 2002, Trillanes took up his graduate studies at the National College of Public Administration and Governance at UP Diliman, and got his master's degree in Public Administration, Major in Public Policy and Program Management.

For the duration of the masters program, he received two University Scholar Awards for obtaining two semestral GPAs of 1.0 to 1.25 and a College Scholar Award for obtaining a semestral GPA of 1.25 to 1.50.[7]

Political career[edit]

Oakwood Mutiny[edit]

Trillanes was known for leading the 2003 Oakwood Mutiny when he and some 300 junior officers and enlisted men[8] of the Armed Forces of the Philippines took over the Oakwood towers in Makati City as protest for alleged rampant corruption in the Philippine government - in the Armed Forces of the Philippines.[9] He was detained for almost seven and a half years.[10]

Manila Peninsula siege[edit]

Trillanes filed his certificate of candidacy on February 7, 2007, to run as an independent senatorial candidate despite being detained for complicity in a failed coup d'état. Later, he accepted an invitation from the Genuine Opposition party (GO) as one of its guest candidates to field against the Arroyo administration. He campaigned successfully, while in jail, through the social networking site, Friendster. Trillanes was proclaimed Senator-elect on June 15, 2007 by the Commission on Elections. He is the 2nd youngest senator after Benigno Aquino, Jr. elected at the age of 35 (his partymate Bam Aquino join him as youngest senator elected in 2013)

On July 23, 2007, Trillanes' motion for an "arrangement" with the Makati RTC that would allow him to fulfill his duties as a Senator while under detention, and to allow him to attend the SONA, remained unacted upon. A week after, judge Oscar Pimentel denied Trillanes's plea to be granted leave from detention to attend Senate sessions, and to set up an office inside Fort Bonifacio in Taguig City where he had been detained.[11] In response to Trillanes' continued imprisonment despite his election as Senator, former University of the Philippines president Francisco Nemenzo, Jr. and former vice president Teofisto Guingona, Jr. of civil society launched the "Paglingkurin si Trillanes [Let Trillanes Serve] Movement" in Pasay City on August 23, 2007. Akbayan Representative Risa Hontiveros, Ana Maria Nemenzo of the Freedom from Debt Coalition, opposition leader Jose Alcuaz, and Trillanes' spokesperson Sonny Rivera, were present.[12]

In the Senate election held in May 2007, Trillanes successfully launched a nationwide campaign from his prison cell as he ran and won a seat in the Philippine Senate on a shoestring budget.[6] He was elected to the Senate as guest candidate for the anti-administration[13] Genuine Opposition ticket, and assumed office on June 30, 2007. He made history[10] for being the first Philippine senator to be elected while in jail when more than 11 million people voted him into office.[6] On November 29, 2007, Trillanes, together with the soldiers facing coup d'état charges in connection with the 2003 Oakwood Mutiny, marched out of the courtroom while attending a hearing[14] towards the Peninsula Manila hotel in Makati City, to reiterate their call[15] for the ouster of then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.[16]

Notwithstanding calls from civil society groups to allow Trillanes to serve as Senator pursuant to his election, Judge Oscar Pimentel denied Trillanes's petition to attend Senate sessions on September 20, 2007, for lack of merit, ruling that his incarceration would not be a bar to fulfilling his duties as a Senator.[17] His petition, having been denied by the lower court, Senator Trillanes filed a petition with the Supreme Court of the Philippines, asking that his petition to be allowed to attend Senate sessions be granted. Representing him was his lawyer Reynaldo Robles. Included in said petition was a request that he be allowed to receive visitors in his jail at Fort Bonifacio.[18]

On October 17, 2007, the Supreme Court of the Philippines, in an en banc resolution, directed the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), and Makati Regional Trial Court Judge Oscar Pimentel to comment within 10 days on Senator Antonio Trillanes IV's petition.[19] These requests were however later overshadowed by Trillanes' decision to stage another action against Gloria Arroyo's administration. On November 29, 2007, the senator led a siege, this time at the Manila Peninsula Hotel in Makati. After walking out of his court hearing, he and Brigadier General Danilo Lim led their supporters to the hotel where they staged another coup d'état calling on the public to join them. Six hours later, after military teams surrounded the hotel and armored personnel carriers broke through the hotel's front doors, Trillanes and his companions surrendered.


On December 20, 2010, Trillanes was given provisional freedom pending the recognition of the court's amnesty declaration of President Benigno Aquino III.[20] Under Proclamation 75, President Benigno Aquino III granted amnesty to Trillanes and other military personnel who participated in the coup d' etats. He was able for the first time to enter the Senate and perform his duties as a senator.

After formalizing his re-election bid in October 2012, Trillanes filed his certificate of candidacy for 2013 elections at the Commission on Elections main office in Manila. He ran under the banner of the Nacionalista Party, which was allied with the ruling Liberal Party in the 2013 midterm elections.[21] Trillanes was ranked ninth out of the out of the 12 winning senators. Trillanes was proclaimed senator-elect on May 20, 2013 by the Commission on Elections[22] with an official tally of 14,127,722 votes.[23]

In October 2012, Trillanes formalized his re-election bid, filing his certificate of candidacy at the main office of the Commission on Elections in Manila. He ran under the banner of the Nacionalista Party, which is allied with the ruling Liberal Party in the 2013 midterm elections.[24] He formed part of the umbrella coalition of the administration-backed senatorial line-up for the 2013 Philippine Senate election known as the Team PNoy.[25] Formally proclaimed as a Senator in May 2013,[26] Trillanes was re-elected by 14,127,722 Filipinos as per Comelec's official tally of votes.[23]

At the Senate, he is one of the most productive senators in terms of number bills, resolutions and committee reports filed,[27] totalling to 1,109 bills and resolutions, 56 of which have been passed into law from 2007 to present.[6]

During the 16th Congress (2013–2016) he ranks 1st[28] based on the total number of:

  • National Bills passed into law (as Principal Author) (7 bills)
  • National Bills passed into law (as Principal Sponsor) (9 bills)
  • Committee Reports filed (32 bills) 9 have been passed into law; 13 have been approved on 3rd reading; 10 are pending for deliberations

During the 15th Congress (2010-2013) he ranked 1st[28] based on the total number of:

  • National Bills (as Principal Sponsor) passed into law
  • National Bills (as Principal Author) passed into law (15th Congress)

In a televised plenary debate in the Senate in September 2012, Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile publicly accused Trillanes of working for Chinese interest, in reference to the territorial dispute between the Philippines and China.[29] Posing as an informal emissary of the government of Benigno Aquino III, Trillanes allegedly wanted to rein in then Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario and prevent the United States from being involved in the regional dispute. Enrile then proceeded to read what he said were notes of Philippine Ambassador to China Sonia Brady about a meeting with Trillanes in Beijing, in which Trillanes allegedly told the Chinese that the Philippines cannot enforce its coastal protection, and that the Philippines does not have any interest in the Scarborough Shoal.[30] Senator Trillanes confirmed that he had been acting as "backchannel negotiator" with China for months, keeping then Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario out of the loop.[31] He was then charged of treason and espionage in May 2016 for his series of sixteen secret meetings with officials in Beijing and providing information which resulted in the immediate occupation of Scarborough Shoal and the Spratly Islands by China in 2012.[32]

Vice-presidential campaign[edit]

Trillanes declared his intention to run for higher office as vice president in the 2016 national elections.[33] Trillanes, started his vice presidential campaign during the MAGDALO Coalition's general assembly at the Amoranto Sports Complex in Quezon City, and declared his candidacy on October 3. 2015. He reportedly asked his current arch-enemy and incumbent president Rodrigo Duterte as his running mate which the latter refused.[34] Trillanes and the Magdalo group has formally showed support to the presidential bid of fellow senator Grace Poe.[35]

Trillanes paid several advertisements featuring schoolchildren and snippets of videos of Rodrigo Duterte on May 5, 2016 on ABS-CBN, which sparked controversy and adverse reaction. The broadcasts were described as "black propaganda." [36] Alan Peter Cayetano petitioned the Taguig regional trial court, and they soon placed a temporary restraining order (TRO) to stop the airing of the anti-Duterte ads for 72 hours. Cayetano told GMA News that the political advertisement was part of a conspiracy theory devised by the Malacanang and other candidates against Duterte.[37]

Trillanes eventually lost the 2016 vice presidential race to Liberal Party Candidate Leni Robredo.


Before the 2016 election, he alleged that former Davao City Mayor and incumbent president Rodrigo Duterte had an account in the Julia Vargas branch of BPI (allegedly Php 211 M).[38][39]

According to Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, also, Trillanes closed his accounts in DBS Bank days before he went to Singapore and showed that there were no such accounts. This became a source of polemic debates in social media such as Twitter and Facebook.[40]

After a year and some months, Trillanes has become a rival of Duterte. Duterte's common law wife, Honeylet Avancena, defended Duterte against Trillanes' controversies.[41]

On February 13, 2018, Trilanes was declared as persona non grata by Davao City Officials.[42]

Personal life[edit]

Trillanes is married to Arlene G. Orejana, a former member of the Philippine Military Academy corps of professors — a PMA Class 1997 graduate herself — and together they have had three children; Francis Seth, Thea Estelle, and Alan Andrew (who died at 21 days old).[6]

In 2014, he attended the National and International Security program at the Harvard Kennedy School[6] in Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA.[43]


  1. ^ Senate minority visits de Lima detention. Rappler, May 1, 2017.
  2. ^ Official Facebook Page of Senator Antonio Trillanes IV. "Antonio Sonny Trillanes IV Basic Info". Retrieved February 21, 2013. 
  3. ^ "Senator Antonio "Sonny" F. Trillanes IV". Retrieved February 19, 2013. 
  4. ^ Merueñas, Mark (October 13, 2010). "Trillanes camp: Amnesty won't set bad precedent". GMA News. Retrieved December 25, 2010. 
  5. ^ Official Facebook Page of Senator Antonio Trillanes IV. "Antonio Sonny Trillanes IV Basic Info". Retrieved March 4, 2013. 
  6. ^ a b c d e f Official Website of Senator Antonio Trillanes IV. "ANTONIO "SONNY" F TRILLANES IV". Retrieved February 21, 2013. 
  7. ^ Senate of the Philippines' Official Website. "Senator Antonio "Sonny" F. Trillanes IV Biography". Archived from the original on March 6, 2013. Retrieved February 19, 2013. 
  8. ^ "Who is Antonio Trillanes IV?". Retrieved February 19, 2013. 
  9. ^ ", Magdalo History". Retrieved February 19, 2013. 
  10. ^ a b People's Tonight. "P-Noy supports Trillanes!". Retrieved February 19, 2013. 
  11. ^ "GMA NEWS.TV, Makati court junks Trillanes plea to attend Senate sessions". July 30, 2007. Retrieved May 18, 2012. 
  12. ^ ", 'Let Trillanes Serve Movement' launched". Retrieved May 18, 2012. 
  13. ^ Paul Michael Jaramillo. "Trillanes joins Villar in Nacionalista Party". Retrieved March 4, 2013. 
  14. ^ Anna Liza T. Villas. "Court Defers Trillanes Hearing". Retrieved February 19, 2013. 
  15. ^ Jojo Malig. "Court Defers Trillanes Hearing". Retrieved February 20, 2013. 
  16. ^ "Trillanes: Filipinos celebrate rebellions". Retrieved November 28, 2007. 
  17. ^ "GMA NEWS.TV, Court rejects Trillanes appeal to attend Senate sessions". September 20, 2007. Retrieved May 18, 2012. 
  18. ^ Abs-Cbn Interactive, Trillanes asks SC to allow him to attend Senate sessions
  19. ^ ", AFP, judge told to answer Trillanes's bid to exercise duties". Retrieved May 18, 2012. 
  20. ^ "Makati court grants Trillanes temporary release". Retrieved December 21, 2010. 
  21. ^ Marc Cayabyab. " Trillanes formalizes Senate re-election bid". Retrieved March 5, 2013. 
  22. ^ Matikas Santos. " Trillanes receives certificate of proclamation from Comelec". Retrieved May 20, 2013. 
  23. ^ a b Rappler. " Official tally of votes for the 2013 senatorial race". Retrieved October 14, 2013. 
  24. ^ Marc Cayabyab. " Trillanes formalizes Senate re-election bid ". Retrieved October 13, 2013. 
  25. ^ Team PNoy
  26. ^ Matikas Santos. " Trillanes receives certificate of proclamation from Comelec ". Retrieved October 13, 2013. 
  27. ^ Mario Casayuran. " Trillanes is Senates most productive". Retrieved May 3, 2015. 
  28. ^ a b Official Facebook Page of Senator Antonio Trillanes IV. "Antonio Sonny Trillanes IV Page Info". Retrieved August 24, 2015. 
  29. ^ Bordadora, Cathy C. Yamsuan, Norman. "Enrile accuses Senator Trillanes of working for China". Retrieved 2016-05-02. 
  30. ^ Macaraig, Ayee.,-trillanes-fight-over-china. Retrieved 2016-05-05.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  31. ^ Santamaria, Carlos. Retrieved 2016-05-05.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  32. ^ Mangunay, K.F. (8 May 2016). "President Aquino, Trillanes face treason". Philippine Daily Inquirer. Retrieved 3 July 2016. 
  33. ^ JDS GMA news. " Trillanes to run for higher office in 2016". Retrieved May 3, 2015. 
  34. ^ News, ABS-CBN. "Duterte twits Trillanes: 'Didn't you ask to be my VP?'". ABS-CBN News. Retrieved 2018-03-04. 
  35. ^ "Trillanes announces VP run, supports Poe's presidential bid". GMA News. Retrieved October 4, 2015. 
  36. ^ Ranada, Pia (May 6, 2016). "Anti-Duterte ad by Trillanes riles up Duterte supporters". Rappler. Retrieved May 7, 2016. 
  37. ^ Macas, Trisha (May 6, 2016). "Taguig RTC issues TRO vs anti-Duterte ad". GMA News. Retrieved May 7, 2016. 
  38. ^
  39. ^
  40. ^
  41. ^
  42. ^ Ager, Maila (13 February 2018). "Trillanes on 'persona non grata' tag: Truth hurts". Philippine Daily Inquirer. Retrieved 18 February 2018. 
  43. ^ Harvard Kennedy School Official Website. "Harvard Kennedy School Contact Us". Retrieved May 5, 2015. 

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