PH Senator Antonio “Sonny” Trillanes holds town hall meeting in Los Angeles

Senator Sonny Trillanes stresses a point during a town hall meeting at the Pilipino Workers Center (PWC) in Los Angeles. Photo by Irwin Jazmines

PHILIPPINE opposition Senator Antonio “Sonny” Trillanes IV met with the Filipino-American community last Saturday in Los Angeles.

The meeting, which was organized by the Filipino American Human Rights Alliance (FAHRA), was attended by groups of pro and against the Duterte administration. It was held at the Pilipino Workers Center (PWC) building at Glendale Avenue, Los Angeles.

Tension was high throughout the meeting but the cooler heads of the event organizers prevailed. The meeting ended with members of both factions making peace with each other and shaking hands. Some of them even hugged each other before leaving the place and some even took “groupie” shots.

Trillanes, who is a known critic of Duterte, calmly and gamely answered queries from both sides of the political divide.

Among the most salient issues discussed during the forum were: the senator’s role as an emissary in a back channel talks with the government of China during the administration of President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino; the recent pronouncement of the International Criminal Court’s (ICC) decision to conduct preliminary examinations of alleged extra-judicial killings in the Philippines; the defense of Philippine territories amid Chinese incursions; the danger facing children vaccinated with Dengvaxia; the proposal to shift from a unitary form of government to federalism and the senator’s role as a member of the opposition.

A full coverage video of the event is available online at Kapitbahay News.

The town hall meeting was also participated online by representatives from organizations of Filipinos in Canada, France, United Kingdom and San Francisco, USA.

Convenor Agoo Fedalizo of FAHRA lays down the rules at the start of the town hall meeting at the Pilipino Workers Center (PWC) in Los Angeles. Photo by Tony Garcia

At the start of the meeting, convenor Agoo Fedalizo laid down the guidelines supposedly reached by the FAHRA board of directors after analyzing the two recent town hall meetings that they set up for Trillanes in Chicago and in San Francisco.

Fedalizo said FAHRA wanted only legitimate members of the media and their members to take video of the event to avoid the creation of “fake news.” The FAHRA proposal was opposed by pro-Duterte guests.

Nevertheless, even as Fedalizo reiterated his position not to allow video coverage of people that they did not authorize (claiming he could not change the board’s decision by himself), the rule was not implemented physically though.

Those who wanted to ask questions to Senator Trillanes were asked to form two lines at the center of the room. They were alternately called to shoot their questions together with those who were participating online.

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