Lawyers eye charges vs Trillanes over anti-Duterte speech

Adrian Ayalin, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 09 2017 01:56 PM | Updated as of Nov 09 2017 02:38 PM

MANILA - (UPDATED) A group of lawyers is planning to file an inciting to sedition case against Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV for allegedly making public statements encouraging the military to kill President Rodrigo Duterte. 

Former Negros Oriental Rep. Jing Paras, who leads the group, said the basis of their case is Trillanes' privilege speech last October 3 saying the supposed unexplained wealth of Duterte may prompt soldiers to use force against the President. 

Paras noted that Trillanes supposedly said in his privilege speech: “Kung makikita ito ng mga sundalo, M-60 ang gagamitin sa iyo kasi marami-rami ito. Mauubos yung magasin, kung 40 million yung hinahanap mo.”

“By concocting all these lies and showing these spurious documents, he has encouraged or called on the military to kill the President,” he said. 

The case against Trillanes may be filed on Thursday, either at the Department of Justice or the Office of the Ombudsman, according to Paras. 

In his October 3 speech, Trillanes rejected President Duterte's claim that the senator is keeping bank deposits "all over" Singapore, China, Hong Kong, Australia and America. He said a certain Daniel "Snooky" Cruz was paid P10 million by Malacañang for the alleged information on his accounts. 

Trillanes signed bank waivers on all 12 bank accounts that he allegedly owned and dared the President to do the same for his accounts. 

He also went to Singapore and visited banking institutions there to debunk the allegations. 

He also claimed that Trillanes closed the DBS account online before signing his waiver. DBS however said accounts can only be closed in person at its branches. 

He also claimed that Trillanes closed the DBS account online before signing his waiver. DBS however said accounts can only be closed in person at its branches. 

Trillanes said he welcomes this plan by the group of Paras to file "absurd" charges against him since it will be able to help him prove Duterte's supposed ill-gotten wealth.

"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," the senator said.

NO LEGAL IMMUNITY? 

Meanwhile, Paras' group said Trillanes' speech is not protected by legislative immunity based on recent American jurisprudence which may also be applied to cases in the Phiippines. 

“Meron nagsasabi na ang privilege speech is only limited to libelous accounts but when you make criminal offenses while delivering the speech, that’s no longer part of your immunity,” Paras said. 

Atty. Manuelito Luna, another member of the group who is currently drafting the charges, said that 4 to 5 cases will be filed against Trillanes. 

Luna said that aside from inciting to sedition case, Trillanes may face other charges such as proposal to commit coup d’etat, violation of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, the Anti-Money Laundering Law and a possible ethics case. 

“What are the evidence? The evidence in these cases include the following, his privilege speech, public speech in UP, photographs in the rally wherein he spoke, his statements to the media which are not part of public domain,” Luna said.

Luna also said other members of the opposition group called Tindig Pilipinas may be included the cases, such as former Social Welfare and Development Secretary Dinky Soliman.