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“Sonny”
Antonio Fuentes Trillanes III

41 Senator NACIONALISTA PARTY

Antonio “Sonny” Trillanes IV’s entry into the political scene is one of controversy, one of the surefire ways of getting one’s name to be known in Filipino politics.

Trillanes was thrust into the national limelight when he joined the Oakwood Mutiny in 2003. He and his Magdalo group of young soldiers took control of the posh hotel in Makati to protest the supposed corruption in the Armed Forces of the Philippines. The mutiny failed and they were punished for their protest.

Despite being in jail, Trillanes won a senatorial seat in the 2007 elections. He is the first senator to be elected even while under detention.

Still, he could not go to work in the Senate. In November 2007, Trillanes again gained national attention when he walked out of his trial for the Oakwood mutiny.

He then went to the Peninsula Manila, along with other colleagues, and again called for the ouster of then President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

The administration of President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino granted amnesty to soldiers linked to three uprisings. The amnesty, via Proclamation 50, covered Trillanes.

Aquino said “the essence of the amnesty is to promote an atmosphere conducive to the attainment of peace and reconciliation.” Soldiers involved in failed military adventures under the Arroyo government later were later appointed to different government agencies, and Trillanes finally stepped into the halls of the Senate.

Still, controversy never seems to leave the Philippine Military Academy graduate. In 2012, he clashed with Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile over the young senator’s backchannel role in the Philippines' dispute with China over the Scarborough Shoal (Panatag Shoal).

In an emotionally-charged session at the Senate last September, Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile lambasted Trillanes for supposedly selling the country’s sovereignty to China. The older senator revealed confidential details of the newbie politician’s alleged discussions with the then Ambassador to China Sonia Brady.

Despite his controversial role in the China controversy, Aquino continues to support Trillanes. He will be seeking another term under the administration Liberal Party.

Where does he stand? Click here.