OPINION: What Duterte's henchmen have come up with vs Trillanes

Ellen T. Tordesillas

Posted at Oct 22 2019 02:43 AM

If all that President Rodrigo Duterte’s henchmen can come up with against former Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV is Guillermina Barrido, that means they have scraped the bottom of the barrel and found nothing.

The preliminary hearing resumes Oct. 22 and it is interesting to see what fiction and invention Duterte and his minions have again produced.

Duterte’s con artists tried fake bank accounts and it was Duterte that they conned. Trillanes was able to debunk them by getting a certification from the banks mentioned in the documents.

Duterte tried dragging in Trillanes' sick mother in the Napoles helmet scam but Sandiganbayan records of the case never mentioned her name.

Trillanes has joined the academe after his stint in the Senate. It’s a quiet life compared to the years after he and a group of military officers decided to make a stand against corruption in the government of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in what is known as the Oakwood mutiny on July 27, 2003.

His daring and idealism catapulted him to the Senate where he continued to demand accountability from those in power.

Trillanes did 2 things that will continue to afflict Duterte even after his presidency: the plunder case with the Ombudsman based on the President’s bank accounts and the complaint of crime against humanity filed before the International Criminal Court in The Hague, Netherlands.

Duterte has marked Trillanes an enemy after he exposed his bank accounts containing at least P200 million despite his campaign narrative of being poor. Duterte’s bank deposits, which he held jointly with his daughter Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, were not included in his statement of assets, liabilities and net worth (SALN), which is a violation of the law.

Duterte has succeeded in stopping the Ombudsman from investigating his unexplained huge bank deposits but the probe can resume when he is no longer in power. The ICC case is a Damocles sword that continues to haunt Duterte as he continues with his brutal war on drugs with doubtful results.

Duterte’s obsession to get back at Trillanes makes this story by a Malacañang source believable. The source said at the start of his presidency, riding on his high popularity, Duterte allegedly ordered for the gathering of “dirt” about his critics who include senators Trillanes and Leila de Lima.

The source said a after a few months Duterte’s “researchers” came back with some stuff about De Lima, which was used against the lady senator, who has been in detention for illegal drugs-related charges for the past 3 years. But they got nothing on Trillanes.

“Wala talaga? (Nothing?)” an exasperated Duterte asked, our source said. The “researchers” replied: “Wala talaga (Really nothing), Mr. President.”

A self-confessed former member of the Davao Death Squad, Arturo Lascañas revealed in 2017 that he got an assignment to assassinate Trillanes but he told his superiors that it would not be easy because the senator, a former navy officer, has an elaborate security network protecting him.

Duterte’s men has tried other means against Trillanes. Duterte tried voiding the amnesty granted to the former senator by former President Benigno Aquino III for the charges of rebellion filed against him and his fellow officers when they stood up against then President Gloria Arroyo whom they accused of corruption.

Last August, the Philippine National Police-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group filed kidnapping charges against Trillanes and 3 others—Fr. Albert Alejo, SJ, lawyer Jude Sabio and a certain Sister Ling of the Convent of Cannussian Sisters. (The DOJ cannot find a Cannussian convent in Metro Manila.)

The preliminary hearing last week was postponed to Oct. 22.

The CIDG charge is based on the claim of Barrido that Trillanes had tried to bribe her to testify against Duterte. She claimed to have been brought to the Cannussian convent and then at the Holy Spirit Convent to allegedly force her to sign a "ready-made" affidavit against the administration.

Trillanes denied the allegations against him. He said he does not know Barrido and the only time he saw her was during the preliminary investigation last Oct. 11.

Online search on Barrido yielded 2010 news reports about a case she filed against Joavan Fernandez, son of Talisay City Mayor Socrates Fernandez. The report said Barrido “claimed to be a former security guard” of Joavan Fernandez.

An Oct. 6, 2010 issue of the Philippine Star carried a story of Barrido accusing the mayor's son of threatening to kill her after she quit her job as his bodyguard.

The Philippine Star report said, “Aside from that grave threat allegation, Barrido also claimed that Joavan was engaged in illegal drugs and has implicated some Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency agents as alleged suppliers of illegal drugs to the mayor's son.”

Then on Oct. 28, Philippine Star reported that Barrido recanted her statements against Fernandez.

The news report said Talisay City Prosecutor Marshal Rubia said “Barrido has already settled with her former boss Joavan last October 15 when they met before Bulacao barangay chief Raul Cabañero, who presided the mediation between the two of them.”

Ano ba 'yan?

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