MANILA - A Makati court on Friday dismissed a motion of Senator Antonio Trillanes IV seeking to suspend court proceedings and an arrest warrant related to a libel case against him.
Former Makati Mayor Junjun Binay slapped Trillanes with libel charges after the latter claimed the mayor's camp bribed several Court of Appeals (CA) justices.
Trillanes earlier alleged that lawyer Pancho Villaraza facilitated the transaction to pay off Court of Appeals Associate Justices Jose Reyes Jr. and Francisco Acosta in exchange for issuing a temporary restraining order (TRO) against Binay's suspension.
Judge Dina Teves of the Makati Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 42 junked Trillanes' motion because the court has yet to formally start hearing the case, according to Atty. Claro Cerveza, Binay's legal counsel.
"Pinasususpinde niya (Trillanes) iyung proceedings dahil daw magfa-file siya ng motion for recommendation. Ang isinagot namin, hindi iyun sapat na rason para itigil o suspendihin," Cerveza explained.
Trillanes' lawyer, Reynaldo Robles, said Teves wants to formally acquire jurisdiction of the case first before ordering a suspension of the hearing.
Robles added that Trillanes is ready to appear before the court and settle bail when he returns next week from an official trip in the United States.
"Ini-commit naman namin na at the earliest opportunity, when the senator returns sometime next week, he will present himself through the court... Ang sabi ni Judge [Teves], kapag nai-present na niya ang sarili niya and kapag pending na iyung petition, saka isu-suspend iyung proceedings," he said.
"Kumbaga, she wanted to acquire jurisdiction first, which is not a problem anyway. It has never been the intention of the senator to evade the processes of the court." -- Report from Henry Atuelan, radio dzMM