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Saturday, March 2, 2024

Trillanes found guilty in libel case

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Former Senator Antonio Trillanes IV was found guilty of libel in connection with the statement he made in 2015 against former Makati City Mayor Jejomar Erwin “Junjun” Binay Jr. and justices in the Court of Appeals.

Makati City Regional Trial Court Branch 148 Judge Andres Bartolome Soriano sentenced Trillanes to pay a fine of P100,000 aside from the P500,000 in moral damages and costs of suit for the complainant.

The former senator made the statement on April 7, 2015, which was aired in various radio and television programs in the country.

Trillanes said the court's decision was a "price to pay for standing up against very powerful people."

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"We intend to exhaust all legal remedies to overturn (the) ruling.

Regardless, we will not let this legal setback discourage us in pursuing our advocacy to purge our (government) of corrupt and abusive public officials," he said.

In February 2016, Trillanes posted P10,000 bail, a week after Makati City Branch 142 Judge Dina Pestaño Teves issued an arrest warrant in connection with the case.

The case stemmed from the senator's statements that Mayor Junjun Binay and his family bribed the Justices of the Court of Appeals for the issuance of the temporary restraining order against the preventive suspension order issued by the Office of the Ombudsman in 2015.

Before he posted bail, Trillanes filed a motion asking the court to suspend the hearings and other court proceedings, but Judge Teves rejected the plea.

Trillanes posted his bail for his temporary liberty following his official visit in the United States, where he said, he was invited by members of the US Congress.

Judge Teves issued the warrant of arrest against Trillanes on Feb. 5 after finding probable cause in the libel case.

Trillanes had said he will continue his personal crusade to expose the truth about the massive anomalies in Makati despite the filing of the libel charge against him.

"If the Binay family believes that I can be intimidated and threatened from exposing them, they are badly mistaken. I will do everything I can to make sure that plunderers will not rule this country again", said Trillanes when he posted bail last February.

Trillanes had accused two Court of Appeals justices of receiving P50 million to stop the Office of the Ombudsman from carrying out its suspension of the mayor over corruption charges.

He alleged that Binay bribed members of the appellate court's 6th Division in exchange for favorable action on his petition for a temporary restraining order and a Writ of Preliminary Injunction against the suspension order.

The senator also accused Binay and his family as “part of a syndicate” that has committed various crimes and irregularities.

“The damaging and ruinous claims spewed out by respondent Trillanes are mere concoctions and fabrications with no other purpose than to malign, discredit, ruin my reputation and besmirch my good name as well as that of my family,” said Binay in his six-page libel complaint.

Binay added Trillanes' allegations “have no factual basis and were not made in response to duty, but only with obvious intention to injure my reputation as well as those of my family.”

Binay said the acts of Trillanes in connection with the defamatory statements made against him constitute a violation of Article 355 in relation to Article 353 of the Revised Penal Code.

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