Trillanes Joins Nacionalistas

MANILA, Philippines - Senator Antonio Trillanes IV has joined the Nacionalista Party (NP).

Trillanes was sworn in yesterday by Sen. Manny Villar, NP president, in simple ceremonies at the Makati Shangri-La.

Villar described Trillanes as an asset to the party, which is preparing for the 2013 elections.

Trillanes, who spent his first three years as senator in jail, is expected to seek reelection.

His joining the NP came as the Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) which denied the accreditation of Trillanes' Magdalo Para sa Pagbabago as a political party.

In a ruling penned by Associate Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, the court en banc dismissed the Magdalo petition as it upheld the October 26, 2009 and January 4, 2010 resolutions of the Comelec to deny the party accreditation. ,

The group had challenged the Comelec ruling before the Supreme Court, accusing the poll body of grave abuse of discretion.

On July 2, 2009, Magdalo sought to be accredited as a regional political party based in the National Capital Region (NCR) so it could participate in the 2010 elections.

In the petition, Magdalo was represented by Trillanes, its chairman, and Francisco Ashley Acedillo, its secretary general.

On October 26, 2009, the Comelec's Second Division denied Magdalo's petition, saying the group, in seizing the Oakwood Premier Apartments in Makati City on July 27, 2003, showed ''their purpose in employing violence and using unlawful means to achieve their goals in the process defying the laws of organized societies...''

Magdalo filed an appeal which was denied by the Comelec en banc in 2010.

The Supreme Court said it is aware of the apprehensions of the Comelec on Magdalo's use of violence.

It said that if the group decides to file another petition for registration, ''its officers must individually execute affidavits renouncing the use of violence or other harmful means to achieve the objectives of their organization.''

''Further, it must also be underscored that the membership of Magdalo cannot include military officers and/or enlisted personnel in active service, as this act would run counter to the express provisions of the Constitution...'' the court said.

Trillanes' oath-taking was witnessed by former congresswoman Cynthia Villar, Senators Alan Peter Cayetano, Pia Cayetano, Ferdinand ''Bong-bong'' Marcos, Cavite Rep. Boying Remulla, Las Pinas Rep. Mark Villar and Taguig Mayor Lani Cayetano. -with additional report from Leonard Postrado

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