Trillanes charged with libel

THE Department of Justice on Monday filed criminal complaint before the Makati City regional trial court against Senator Antonio Trillanes IV arising from his allegedly malicious statements against former Vice President Jejomar Binay in 2015.

The DoJ approved Monday the filing of the libel case against Trillanes before the Makati City RTC after finding probable cause in the complaint filed by Binay.

“That on or about 19 August 2015, the above named accused did then and there willfully, unlawfully, feloniously, and with malice in fact, publicly made the following statement without regard to truth or falsity thereof and caused the same to be published... thereby defaming, maligning the reputation and causing the dishonor of then Vice President Jejomar Binay to his damage and prejudice,” read the information filed by Senior Assistant State Prosecutor Edwin Dayog.

It cited the senator’s public insinuation against Binay about the supposed P100-million racket per year at the Makati City hall involving ghost senior citizens when the former vice president was still mayor.

“On our blue ribbon subcommittee hearing, we will be exposing the ghost senior citizens of Makati during the incumbency of the Binays who have been claiming the benefits. The whole racket amounts to over P100 million per year,” Trillanes was quoted in a statement sent to reporters. 

Meanwhile, a member of the Majority Bloc in the Senate on Monday said Trillanes’  meeting with American officials where he presented  “factual information” about the Philippines did not amount to  treason.

“While I am of the belief that we should not ‘wash dirty linen in public,’ so to speak, I don’t believe that it will fall on the provision of the Revised Penal Code on treason,” stressed Escudero.

“I really just don’t think it will fall under treason. I guess that’s why Malacañang itself rightfully distanced itself from such an issue,” added Escudero. 

He said the DoJ, through the National Bureau of Investigation, always had the power to investigate violations of the law.

However, he said it was up to the DoJ to investigate the appropriate charges if supported by charges. 

Trillanes, on the other hand, slammed Malacañang on Monday after it said claims he committed treason should be investigated first before any conclusions be made.

The opposition senator then reiterated his murder accusations against President Rodrigo Duterte and asked how could we call the “protectors of a president who killed and ordered the killing of Filipinos.” 

“Are they heroes? Can you not do the right thing?” also said Trillanes, a known strong critic of the President. 

On Sunday, Communications Secretary Martin Andanar was asked in an interview over radio DZNN if Trillanes should be charged with treason. Andanar replied: “We have to study this first. It’s hard to make hasty pronouncements.”

“The DoJ should study it. The lawyers of our President should study that because these are legal matters,” he said.

During his last trip to the United States, Trillanes said he did not dissuade United States President Donald Trump from visiting the Philippines, 

The White House earlier confirmed that Trump would arrive in Manila on Nov. 12 to attend the special gala celebration dinner for the 50th anniversary of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. 

Trump is also set to attend the US-Asean Summit on Nov. 13.

“To be clear, I did not try to stop the state visit of President Trump since these things are carefully planned and cannot be stopped on the mere say so of a Philippine senator,”  said Trillanes in a statement.

But Trillanes said he had met with US officials, including Republican Senator Marco Rubio, to talk about improving Philippines-US relations, and how to address issues on corruption and human rights situation in the country.

Trump was the Republican candidate in the 2016 US presidential elections.

Rubio previously criticized Duterte’s war on drugs as he, together with two other US senators, sent a letter expressing “grave concern on the extrajudicial killings and human rights violations” in the country.

“Unlike the officials of the Duterte administration, I presented only factual information,” said Trillanes.

“Besides, you cannot fool the US government; they know what’s happening in our country,” he added.

“Be assured that I pushed for the interests of our country,” he added, but noted the interests “of our country are not necessarily the same as the interests” of Duterte.

Trillanes had asked the Office of the Ombudsman to investigate Duterte on allegations he had multi-billion-peso undeclared wealth which have prompted the Office of the Ombudsman to investigate him.

Sought for his comments on reports that Trillanes is in US to convince lawmakers to discourage Trump visit to the Philippines, Senate President Koko Pimentel III, replied: 

“Please direct questions to Senator Trillanes since I am abroad trying my best to develop, enhance and strengthen PH relations with various countries [Russia and Great Britain].”

“I hope no one else is wishing or worse working for “bad” relations between the Philippines and other countries like the US and EU members. If we love our country we should always promote our beloved country’s best interest,” he said. 

Topics: Department of Justice , Makati City regional trial court , Senator Antonio Trillanes IV , Jejomar Binay
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