• The Trillanes touch: What he touches becomes squalid


    Maybe what we are looking at here is the reverse of the Midas touch.

    In Greek legend, King Midas was given the power by the god Dionysus to turn everything he touched into gold,

    In Philippine public life, Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV appears to have the unusual power or curse of tarnishing and staining everything he comes in contact with, including ideas and words, and seemingly innocent and perfectly legal occupations.

    After he performed “back-channeling” services for President Aquino in China, our relations with that country shortly deteriorated to the mess it is today. Nobody wants to use the term “back-channel” anymore. What knowledgeable people and diplomats use today is the term “track 2 diplomacy,” whose pedigree and usefulness are well-recognized.

    After Trillanes, in partnership with Senators Alan Peter Cayetano and Aquilino Pimentel III, launched the Blue Ribbon subcommittee inquiry into anything suspicious in Vice President Jejomar Binay’s “past, present and future,” this much- respected mechanism of congressional inquiry and oversight was never the same again.

    The trio’s inquiry has become an inquisition without end, stretching now over a year and costing a bundle of public money. There’s a serious clamor to change names from “ blue ribbon” to “yellow ribbon” to put credit where it is due – his Excellency President Benigno Aquino 3rd.

    Now, with the eruption of the consultants’ controversy starring Trillanes, the entire profession and industry of consulting has been placed under a cloud.

    Some friends of mine who are seriously engaged, as entrepreneurs and professionals, in the multi-million consulting industry are appalled by the hammer blows that their profession is absorbing from the unfolding Senate scandal. They fear that consulting could become Humpty Dumpty; it could be damaged irreparably.

    Consulting, a profession and an industry
    I decided to write this column not to make an invidious comparison between Senator Trillanes’s reported 63 consultants and the professional and honest-to-goodness consultants who earn a fair living – but to undertake a defense of a serious profession and industry, whose work and service enables private and public organizations to operate effectively.

    But first, some facts and figures. According to the classic guide on consulting, “How to Make It Big As a Consultant”, written by a top practicioner, William A. Cohen, Ph.D, a consultant may be defined as follows:

    “A consultant is simply anyone who gives advice or performs other services of a professional or semi-profesional nature in return for compensation.

    “It is not necessary to have an advanced degree to be a consultant, although the orientation of a consultant is clearly professional.”

    There are consultants attached to large consulting firms; and there are also independent consultants who operate individually.

    The world’s foremost independent consultant used to be Peter Drucker, the father of modern management. They don’t come any better or more formidable than him.

    In terms of business volume, the size of the consulting industry is estimated at $10 to $15 billion annually in the US. In the Philippines, estimates place the industry as worth at least several hundred million.

    Worldwide consulting revenues are estimated to now reach $100 billion annually.

    Transmogrifying a legitimate expense
    There is an incipient consultants’ scandal in the Senate because the practice of hiring consultants, like the pork barrel, has been abused by the senators, and in some cases transmogrified.

    The scandal was triggered by a report from the Commission on Audit (COA), which complained to the Senate leadership that the chamber was exceeding limits in spending on consultants, and that there was a lack of supporting papers concerning the hired consultants.

    Senator Trillanes, it appears, expends P1.63 million a month for consultants that include his houseboy, family drivers, media workers, campaign donors, ex-mutineer friends, and a brother, who is paid P71,200 a month.

    The camp of vice-president Jejomar Binay, who has been reeling from all the charges of wrongdoing made by Trillanes against Binay, has seized upon the issue to make Trillanes fry in his own fat.

    “The use of public funds for his personal benefit is clearly unethical, immoral and a blatant abuse of his office,” says Rico Quicho, Binay’s spokesman for political affairs. “The taxpayers are paying for his household expenses and his personal ‘debts’.”

    Trillanes in reply insists that he has committed no irregularity in paying consultancy fees to persons who helped him discharge his duties as a senator.

    “All we’re doing is authorized and legal based on the guidelines provided by COA,” he said. “There is nothing illegal or unauthorized in what we are doing because we were given the discretion on how to spend our budget.”

    But Quicho challenged Trillanes to explain why he used Senate funds to reward two people—Robert Fong and Fabian Go–who contributed P500,000 each to his campaign in 2013.

    It gets worse.

    According Jojo Robles, in a column in the Standard, he learned from a very reliable source that only one member of Trillanes’ staff has been receiving, in a lump sum, all the monthly consultancy fees allocated for his office. All the consultants in Trillanes’ employ have signed special powers of attorney allowing this staff member to receive their salaries for them.

    Needed: Guidelines for hiring consultants
    The controversy in the Senate underlines the glaring need for clear rules and guidelines in the contracting or hiring of consultants by Congress. Leaving the matter entirely to the senators and congressmen to decide is unsatisfactory and prone to abuse.

    Quicho has cited Civil Service Commission (CSC) Resolution 000831 which defines a consultant as one “who provides professional advice on matters within the field of his special knowledge or training.”

    The General Appropriations Act (GAA) allows consultancy service “when a consultant or expert is an acknowledged authority in his field of specialization” and “when the consultant or expert is hired to perform a specific activity or services that require technical skill and expertise which local labor force cannot provide, or if such expertise is available, the supply is limited.”

    Parañaque Rep. Gus Tambunting believes that Congress should pass a law that will clearly provide guidelines on the hiring of consultants.

    This is the way to go, if Congress’ need for expert and professional consultancy services is to be filled.

    Until this happens, consultancy must live with the curse of the Trillanes touch.



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    1. Yen Makabenta wants us to forget the corrupt practices of the Binays unearthed by the Blue Ribbon Committee by underestimating the three senators. Is fairness corrupted by in the minds of those who refuse to see the sad & bad side of the Binays>

    2. trillanes is now a member of “Tuwid na daan kung paano magnakaw” shame on you sumikat sa katarantaduan ,neophyte senator ka palang dami mo nang pera OMG! Lumayas kana sa puesto mo magbilang ka ng kinurakot mong pera ng bayan imbes na iniimbestigaan mo ang VP Binay na puro baho at laway lang pinagsasasabi niyong 3 kenkoy!

    3. ” It seems these four brainless Senators are ruining not only their name, but the image of the whole Senate. What is the Senate President Drillon doing ? Why is he allowing this unethical practice in the office he is leading? ”

      Malaki talaga na motivation nang kapangyarihan ang iginawad sa Apat na iyan, Malaki’ng Dambuhala ang DAP, hindi ba? Pera-pera, at madami pang pera kaakibat ang sandamakmak na powers – no wonders kung umasta ang mga iyan akala mo wala ng katapusan ang mga ipinagkatiwala sa kanila na dirty jobs. Nang kanilang incompetent na Boss jan sa Palasyo. Weather-Whether politics lang poh, mga Folks, as what Lelang Dilemma sang to the tune of -….”What are Friends are For?…”

    4. In response to stupid reactions from your readers, may I ask them of what do they think of the evidence gathered in the senate against the Binays. Who owns the Batangas Hacienda? Do you think its Tiu? Why the Seller of the land wont appear in any interview, senate inquiry? How could Gerry Limlingan and the other dummies such as Alcantara, Hirene Lopez, the Chongs could set up so many corporations and corner almost all the contracts in Makati City? How about the bidders who got stuck in an elevator for more than an hour that they missed the bidding session? And there are countless other evidences. What do you stupid voters?

    5. troll warlord on

      trillanes you truly are a disgrace to the whole of the military! what a scumbag! you dont deserve to be in power! there is nothing noble in your acts and desires, pure evil!

    6. The Trio Los Senators…I am guided by Mr. Adaza’s longing for leaders with Brains w/ Balls, Balls w/ Brains. They possess too much Balls..to be exact 6 from my last count..and their balls are without malice that they strut around ready for castration just to interject to the public that among their ranks as politicos, some are rotten eggs.

      Talking about if they have Brains…they have but misplaced somewhere in their search for the greater virtues. Their Brains were pre-programmed by the master they serve.

    7. I will bet that no one wil hire the brother of Trillanes as consultant once his term expires in June 30, 2019 inspire of his years of experience as consultant in the senate.

    8. Glad to see Enrile back in the Senate. Please investigate the duties of the Senate , and expose the very abuse of power that has been happening inside this chambers.

      My wish is to see Enrile before he expires in this world, is to give back to the country the Integrity that has been lost and stolen. He must speak out and expose the truths, even if it hurts him.

    9. Sen.Trillanes is a military men he shoot straight.he got the balls Crook VP Binay is a coward and a thief.

    10. The trio of Pimentel, Cayetano and Trillanes are the WORST senators since the MACAPAGAL TIME. Puro na lang sila senate hearings, why they don’t investigate themselves? They are lawmakers and not judgesI .I strongly believe that evidences presented during senate hearings against VP Binay’s case are flimsy. A message to the 3 senators: PLEASE DO NOT ABUSE YOUR POWER.

      • With due respect. I totally disagree. Being quite and officials not attending important meeting are the worst. Any entity need check and balance. This is the good thing about a democratic country. In hindsight, we should be thankful we are not under authoritarian regime like North Korea.
        They can’t investigate themselves as you suggested for obvious reason. They’re not judge but senate panel formed to investigate anomalies in government.
        Lastly they did not abuse their power, they have guts to confront powerful officials. The country need more of these men.
        If they ( trio) are proven wrong they’ll be charged for sure. So let’s calm down and let the rule of law takes place.

      • troll warlord on

        you are are wrong. these three are completely abusing their power. they accuse as if they are not corrupt themselves! senate hearings in essence are to be conducted in aid of legislation, not to try and convict people! they are playing judge, jury, and executioner themeslves. such people should not be in power. too dangerous. too evil.

    11. This Yellow Ribbon Sub-committee hearings done by Trillanes, Cayetano and Pimentel against VP Binay and his family after more than a year has evolved into a satirical show. What is ironic is that these three actors are the ones finally beginning to be scorned and ridiculed, instead of their prey, VP Binay. First, they mis-interpret their actions to be an inquiry of facts, but instead the impression of many is that it is an investigation and humiliation episode against a political enemy, even now counting 26 episodes. And for this, the mature audience scornfully laugh at the PDAF/DAP-scarred Senate. Second, their script-driven witnesses brandish fabricated or distorted documents and these 3 stooges nod “amen”. And for this, legal luminaries correctly ridicule these supposedly lawyers Cayetano and Pimentel for accepting hearsay as facts. Thirdly, these stooges arrogantly stare down and bully uncooperative resource persons, who incidentally are more sane than them being captains of the industry if not topnotch entrepreneurs and business professionals. And for this the businessmen and professionals audience hide their sarcasm by turning their heads away from the TV sets and laugh silently. Finally, the show sponsor, BSAquino III, his LP and Roxas are obviously satisfied as the audience laugh and clap loudly being entertained inside their respective dwellngs. What they doesn’t know is that the dreadful comedy portray them all as clowns ably distracting these audience, at least for some hours, away from the grinding poverty and hopelessness. And for this the poor and hungry audience shed tears in their laughter. Because after the show, back to the harsh reality,

    12. When a person only purposes in investigation is to get even on the person they like to investigate then they will used up all their resource to pin down that person by hook or by crook. That is what is happening now with the 3 senator who has an ax to grind with the Vice President. Senator trillanes say Binay left him in the cold on his adventurizm that landed him in prison. Senator Pimentel was anger when Binay put his rival senator in their slate on last election. Senator Cayetano, like to get even with Binay on their claim who must get THE FORT makati or taguig. Knowing this situation . Right or wrong on their persue of corruption case against Binay . Their vindictiveness is the main driving force why the case of Binay is being investigate more a year and yet continuing . They used their position at the expense of the senate.

    13. I fully agree with ‘Manong’ Johnny, that what’s being done by Trillanes is “self-distract”, it being an on-going investigation and for what legislation it’s in aid for? It’s no longer “in aid of legislation”, but in aid of the Senator’s personal and whinsical ambitions. Literally,it has become in aid (financial) of his consultants which includes relatives and personal friends. It’s in aid of his abuse of power and position against a personal political enemy, or even someone else’s he’s trying to please or, perhaps, reciprocate. Finally, it’s in aid of his ‘boastful’ personality!

    14. Now I can call my driver my “Travel Consultant”. Never the word “Tsuper” again.

    15. Leodegardo Pruna on

      What to expect of Trillanes- thriller in the dark. With such kind of official where is the Philippines going? God bless the Philippines.

    16. About time that Trillanes was exposed as a fraud.
      Not a soldier, but a coward
      Not a man of honor, but simply a corrupt opportunist
      Not an ounce of integrity, just tons of BS
      And not a clue, just full of conspiracy theories.

      He needs to spend less time in front of the mirror, or looking for reds under the bed.

      I wonder what ‘consultancy’ role his houseboy performs!

      It seems that Trillanes employs transformation consultants. They transform tax payer money into his personal funds.

      Does he also employ a tonsorial architecture consultant – barber!

    17. Yung kay Angelo Reyes pabaon at pasalubong! Yung kay Trillanes pangkabuhayan , pa driver pa at pa katulong pa!

    18. Every time I woke up in the morning,It has become frightening and stressful to read, what is happening in our country, specially the uncalled hearing (IN AID FOR LEGISLATION DAW) by the four stooges of the Senate: TRILLANES, PIMENTEL, CAYETANO and sub-committee chairman GUINGONA. It seems these four brainless Senators are ruining not only their name, but the image of the whole Senate. What is the Senate President Drillon doing ? Why is he allowing this unethical practice in the office he is leading? Is he part of the conspiracy to destroy their political rivals or is he in reality like the four stooges? TAMA ANG KASABIHAN, KUNG ANO ANG PUNO AY SIYA ANG BUNGA. PAREHO KAYO NI ABNOY, HINDI PAREHAS KUNG LUMABAN.
      Napakalaki ng aking paghangga kay Drillon nag ako’y nasa Pilipinas pa. Siya’y napakatalino (being a Bar Topnother), pero sa mga ginagawa niya ngayon ay nawala ang aking paghangga at ito’y napalitan ng pagkainis at dismaya. Alam kong ito rin ang naramdaman ng maraming tao. NAWAY gamitin ni DRILLON ang natitira pa niyang talino para isalba ang imahe ng SENADO na kanyang pinamumunuhan.
      In the history of World Politics, it is only in the Philippines that a Senate Hearing is made as a FORUM to advance self interest. It is also worth mentioning that this is the only kind of leadership that allows this to happen.

      • laguatanlawzen.com on

        Absolutely, I fully agree with you. It is only in the Philippines where the Blue Ribbon Committee, the investigating body of the Senate is parceled into a Sub-Committee to conduct investigation in aid of legislation. This is a mockery, a zarzuela, a big joke, manned by 3 politivcal stooges, Trillanes, Pimentel and Peter Cayetano who are recipients of PHp 50M each of bribe money from ABnoy.

    19. if I were a businessman, I wouldn’t give financial support to Trillanes in the next elections. If I give him millions of pesos and someday another politician friend of mine happened to have dispute with him, and Trillanes accuses my politician friend of corruption, imagine what would happen to me if I’m invited to the Senate.

      Trillanes will bully me and tag me as a liar if my answer to his questions does not satisfy him and my answer is not what he wants to hear.

      To businessmen, beware of Trillanes and Cayetano. Don’t make a mistake of supporting them in the next elections. Watch the Senate inquiries and see how arrogant they are and how they bullied and humiliated the invited resource persons, when Trillanes and Cayetano did not like the answer of the resource persons.

      See how the two senators bullied successful businessmen and college officials with doctorate degree. As if the two senators are more righteous than their invited resource persons. No matter what explanations the resource persons gave, Cayetano and Trillanes wouldn’t accept and believe the explanations.