Jailed Philippine senator a big spender on travel

A jailed Philippine senator claimed thousands of dollars in travel expenses while languishing in prison on rebellion charges, making him one of the most expensive lawmakers in the country.

Antonio Trillanes, who stands accused of leading a failed 2003 coup against President Gloria Arroyo, was the fourth biggest claimant in the country's senate during 2008, auditors said. Trillanes, who campaigned and won his seat in 2007 while detained at a police jail in Manila, billed taxpayers more than 17 million pesos (Dh1.34m) for the year, including nearly 250,000 pesos for travel expenses, a Commission on Audit report said.

Local broadcaster GMA quoted his chief-of-staff Reynaldo Robles as saying it was money well spent by his staff, who had conducted outreach and medical missions to depressed areas of the country on behalf of the jailed senator. "It is a simple way of touching base with our poor constituents," Robles said.

Trillanes is on trial.

 

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