MANILA- (UPDATE) Solicitor General Jose Calida threatened Thursday to file a libel suit against opposition Senator Antonio Trillanes IV on allegations that the government's top lawyer stole the former mutineer's amnesty application document.
Trillanes said Wednesday he asked the Department of National Defense and the military why they allegedly allowed Calida to take the document.
"The putschist Mr. Trillanes ranted to the media yesterday that I 'stole' his amnesty application document. In effect, Mr. Trillanes maliciously branded me as a thief, which I’m not," Calida said in a statement.
"Unless Mr. Trillanes expresses his sincere apology for calling me a thief, I shall be constrained to file a criminal case for libel plus damages against him," he added.
Sought for comment, Trillanes said Calida has the freedom to file and case and noted that he expects the "worst" out of the government's top lawyer.
"He (Calida) knows the truth. Yung buong Pilipinas alam ang katotohanan. Kung magfa-file siya gawin niya eh trip niya yan diba? He can do whatever he wants. I expect the worst out of him," Trillanes said.
(The whole Philippines knows the truth. If he will file a case then do it. That's what he wants right?)
Calida explained that he cannot steal such document since he has never entered the offices that keep amnesty application forms.
He also noted that a certification has been issued that there are no available copies of Trillanes' application for amnesty.
"Obviously, Mr. Trillanes’ rationality (assuming he had one) has deserted him," he said.
Trillanes is facing possible arrest after President Rodrigo Duterte voided the amnesty granted to him by former president Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III for his supposed failure to formally apply for one and express guilt for his crimes.
Duterte had previously said it was Calida who did the research on Trillanes' amnesty grant.
"Kung ano ang sinabi niyo doon, 'yun ang paniwalaan ko. Eh kung hindi ko pinaniwalaan si Calida, eh di ipinatapon ko na 'yan, hindi ko alam kung saan," the President said.
(What he said there, I believed. If I did not believe Calida then I would have thrown him out.)
The withdrawal of Trillanes' amnesty in effect revived coup d'etat and rebellion charges the former Navy lieutenant had faced for leading uprisings in 2003 and 2007.
Trillanes had alleged that in withdrawing his amnesty, the Duterte administration was "trying everything" to stop the legislative probe against Calida over his alleged conflict of interest in government contracts of the solicitor general's security firm.
The legislative inquiry into the matter is being led by Trillanes.
Trillanes has vowed to go after officials of the Duterte administration who he believes are involved in his legal predicament, namely Calida, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra, and Department of National Defense spokesperson Arsenio Andolong.
"Pagdating ng panahon, 'pag wala na si Duterte, hahabulin ko talaga sila if they insist dito sa ginagawa nilang kalokohan," Trillanes earlier said.
(When the time comes, when Duterte is no longer in power, I will run after them if they insist on this foolishness.)
"Ngayon 'yung magpapagamit, 'yung mga abogadong nagsasalita diyan, ako talaga hahabulin ko ang mga ito. Kakaririn ko kayo," he added.
(Now, those who will allow themselves to be used, these lawyers talking, I will run after you. I will never stop.)