Trillanes’ remark that ‘soldiers will use their M-60s’ on DU30 is inciting to sedition: lawyers

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Duterte Trillanes combo
President Duterte and Senator Antonio Trillanes (inset). INTERAKSYON FILE COMBO IMAGE FROM NEWS5 SCREENGRAB

MANILA – A group of lawyers led by former Negros congressman Jacinto Paras and Manuel Luna are preparing to file charges of inciting to sedition and rebellion against Sen, Antonio Trillanes IV, in connection with his October 3, 2017 privileged speech where he claimed President Duterte had P2 billion in unexplained wealth. In the same speech, he virtually encouraged soldiers to kill the President because of corruption, the lawyers said.

The lawyers will also file with the Justice department charges of graft, filing the wrong information, and violation of the law on coup d’etat against the senator, who has been at odds with Duterte since the 2016 election campaign.

Paras and Luna will be joined in the lawsuit by lawyers Nasser Marohomsalic and Eligio Mallari.

According to Paras, Trillanes in his Oct. 3 speech virtually encouraged the military to assassinate the President because of that part in his speech where he supposedly said: “Naku, kung makikita ito ng mga sundalo, M-60 machine guns ang gagamitin sayo [wow, if the soldiers would see all this wealth, they’d use their M-60 machine guns on you]. . . ” meaning, said Paras, encouraging them to train their fire on the President, on whom the senator allegedly predicted soldiers would use “marami marami” [a lot of] bullets for the purpose.

“By concocting all these lies [about the P2-billion wealth], showing these spurious documents, he [Trillanes] has encouraged . . he has called on the military to kill the President,” said Paras.

Trillanes reacts

Reacting to the reported plan, Trillanes issued this statement: “No matter how absurd these cases may seem, I actually welcome them because, as part of my legal defense, I would be able to prove my claim on Duterte’s ill-gotten wealth. Specifically, I would be able to ask the court to subpoena his bank documents as an exemption to the Bank Secrecy Law.”

In the view of Atty. Mallari, the remarks of Trillanes cannot be dismissed as mere “symbolism,” or not a literal call to arms.

Hindi po symbolism ‘yon..pag sa privilege speech, nagsabi ka ng any criminal act, inciting people to sedition. Kasalanan ‘yon, hindi covered ng kanyang immunity, nagkakaroon ng malakas na effect sa buong Pilipinas [That’s not a symbolism. In a privilege speech. if you utter a criminal act, that’s inciting people to sedition. That’s a crime that’s not covered by his legislative immunity; it has an impact on the entire nation].”

The lawyers’ group said some parties in league with Trillanes in Tindig Pilipinas – whose protests he was seen joining – will also be included in their lawsuit.

Trillanes, added the lawyers, has also been “disrespectful” of the President.

In Marohomsalic’s view, Trillanes is a troublemaker, he’s never happy if there’s no problem, even though he can never help think of solutions to problems.

He thinks Trillanes has a psychological disease, and his constant anger at Duterte is part of this supposed disease. Marohomsalic thinks Trillanes wants chaos to prevail.

“[This] sinisterism and nonconformism of Senator Trillanes is a psychological case… because he is consistent in his anger at the President…he just says anything. . . .always grandstanding . . .He just wants chaos,” said the lawyer, speaking partly in Filipino.

For his part, Atty. Luna bared an alleged signature campaign by Trillanes and Tindig Pilipinas to force the opening of Duterte’s bank accounts.

Luna said that actually, Trillanes has no genuine documents on the President’s bank accounts, since the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) has not granted the senator’s request to open the accounts of members of the Duterte family.

Luna said, “the group of Senator Trillanes and Tindig Pilipinas have been conducting a signature campaign to pressure the President to open his bank accounts. These bank accounts are non-existent. His request for an inquiry was denied by the AMLC.” – With Lira Dalangin- Fernandez, InterAksyon