Senate committee finds Gordon's ethics complaint vs. Trillanes sufficient in form and substance

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Updated with quotes from Senate Ethics Chair Tito Sotto and Senator Antonio Trillanes IV

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 11) — The Senate Ethics Committee on Monday found Senator Richard Gordon's ethics complaint vs. Senator Antonio Trillanes IV sufficient in form and substance.

Members of the Senate panel only took 13 minutes to decide.

"A quick glance on the complaint and the attachment submitted to this Committee would easily show that it conforms to the required form as prescribed in the Rules of the Committee," Senate Ethics Committee Chair Senator Tito Sotto said.

The committee also ruled to remove one of the grounds in the ethics complaint, which is Trillanes' involvement in two coups d'etat he joined. Senator Franklin Drilon moved for the ground's removal saying the first coup in 2003 happened before Trillanes became senator, while the second coup in 2007 was covered by amnesty.

Gordon on September 5 filed an ethics complaint against Trillanes, who faces suspension or expulsion by his colleagues if found guilty of "unparliamentary conduct." Trillanes claimed Gordon and Sotto were acting like lawyers for President Rodrigo Duterte's son, Davao City Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte, and son-in-law, Atty. Manases Carpio.

Gordon in his complaint said, "Senator Trillanes disrespected and deliberately maligned the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee by branding it as a 'comite de absuelto,' or a body absolving the accused of wrongdoing."

"Parliamentary immunity must not be allowed to be used as mode to ridicule, demean and destroy the reputation of the Senate and its members... What constitutes unparliamentary language is generally left to the discretion of the body," Sotto said.

For his part, Trillanes said he respects the decision of the committee.

"I will submit to the process. I will face it whole heartedly because I am confident I did not do anything unparliamentary," he said in a media briefing on Monday.

He added he will push through with the filing of an ethics complaint against Gordon. Trillanes has threatened to hit Gordon with an ethics complaint. He also warned he will expose alleged anomalies in Red Cross Philippines, a humanitarian organization chaired by Gordon.