WATCH | Lawyers file sedition raps vs Trillanes over senator’s call to ‘kill’ Duterte

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File photos of Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV (from Philstar) and President Rodrigo Duterte (from Reuters)

MANILA, Philippines — A group of lawyers led by former Negros Oriental Rep. Jacinto “Jing” Paras on Thursday file a criminal complaint before the Pasay City Prosecutor’s office against Senator Antonio Trillanes IV for allegedly inciting rebellious acts against the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte.

In their 15-page complaint-affidavit filed by lawyer Manuelito Luna, who represented the group of Paras, who is also currently a member of the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC), cited the statements made by Trillanes against Duterte in his privilege speech at the Senate last October 3, that soldiers may shoot the President upon the latter’s wish if the allegations of hidden wealth would be proven.

The lawyers are formally accusing Trillanes of inciting to sedition (Article 142, Revised Penal Code or RPC), proposing to commit coup d’etat (Article 136, RPC), and graft (Section 3(e), Republic Act 3019).

During his privilege speech, the lawmaker made statements about the alleged millions of pesos of ill-gotten wealth of Duterte: “Kung makikita ‘to ng mga sundalo, M60 machine gun ang gagamitin sa ‘yo. Marami-rami ito, maubos magazine kung PHP40 million hinahanap mo, Mr. Duterte (If the soldiers could see this, they will use an M60 machine gun on you. These are many. The magazines will be emptied if you’re looking for PHP40 million, Mr. Duterte).”

“Trillanes not only repeatedly uttered seditious words or speeches (Art. 142, RPC) and unabatedly circulated scurrilous libels against the President (Art. 142, RPC), which tend to disturb the public peace, but also repeatedly incited others to inflict any hate or revenge upon his person (Art. 142, in relation to Art. 139 (3), RPC,” read the complaint.

In their complaint, the lawyers asked city prosecutors to launch a preliminary investigation and conduct proper proceedings and find probable cause to indict Trillanes and other unidentified personalities of such offenses.

“Trillanes not only repeatedly uttered seditious words or speeches and unabatedly circulated scurrilous libels against the President, which tend to disturb the public peace, but also repeatedly incited others to inflict any hate or revenge,” the complaint stated.

The lawyers insisted that Trillanes “committed conspiracy or proposal to commit coup d’etat” for encouraging the military to rise up in arms against the President.

Moreover, the complainants accused Trillanes of causing undue injury against the Duterte administration “through evident bad faith or gross inexcusable negligence.”

“(This is) for irresponsibly and recklessly and continuously accusing sans evidence, that the President is keeping over PHP2 billion in bank accounts and or amassing illegally-acquired wealth,” they claimed.

Trillanes is insisting on the evidence consisting of bank transaction records alleged to have been sourced from the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC), despite the AMLC’s disclaimer that the documents did not come from them.

The purported bank transaction documents, which Overall Deputy Ombudsman Arthur Carandang also claimed he is in possession of, was disavowed by the AMLC.

The lawyers also took to task Trillanes’ record of major involvements in notable coups d’etat during the Arroyo administration.

For his involvements in these incidents, Trillanes’ assurance that yellow-oriented group TindigPilipinas’ nationwide signature drive calling on Duterte to sign a waiver for his bank records appear to lack credibility, the complaint stated.

Though Trillanes assured the petition-signing drive is not a destabilization attempt, the complainants said the lawmaker “lacks credibility given his record of major involvement in coups d’etat or destabilization attempts” particularly during the administration of former President and current Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

The complainants cited the senator’s record of major involvements in coups d’etat during the Arroyo administration – Oakwood Mutiny in July 2003, the Marine standoff last February 2006 and the Manila Peninsula siege in November 2007.

Trillanes and other members of Magdalo soldiers were charged with coup d’etat over the said incidents, but they were cleared after being granted amnesty by former President Benigno Aquino III in 2010.

Aside from Paras, the complainants include lawyers Glenn Chong, Nasser Marohomsalic, Nestor Ifurung, Eligio Mallari, Eduardo Bringas, and Louise Biraogo.

Sought for a comment, Trillanes called the VACC “Duterte minions” who were only trying to divert his attention.

However, he said that he remained “focused” on exposing the President’s involvement in murders, corruption and secret bank accounts, and Davao City Vice Mayor and presidential son Paolo Duterte’s involvement in the PHP6.4 billion shabu shipment. — With reports from Azer Parrocha/ PNA

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