MANILA (UPDATE) – The Department of Justice (DOJ) has summoned former Senator Antonio Trillanes IV and 3 others over a kidnapping with serious illegal detention complaint filed by a Davao-based businesswoman who accused them of forcing her to implicate the President in the illegal drug trade.
Assistant State Prosecutor Gino Paolo Santiago required Trillanes, lawyer Jude Sabio, Jesuit priest Albert Alejo and a certain Sister Ling of the Convent of the Cannussian Sisters to appear during the DOJ preliminary investigation on Oct. 11 at 2pm.
They were also ordered to submit their counter-affidavits and supporting documents, based on a copy of the subpoena obtained by ABS-CBN News dated Sept. 16.
Trillanes, Sabio, Alejo and Sister Ling are accused of kidnapping and detaining Guillermina Barrido alias Guillermina Arcillas for 2 weeks in December 2016 allegedly in order to sign a prepared affidavit containing serious allegations against President Rodrigo Duterte and his family.
These allegations supposedly included murder, corruption, existence of the Davao Death Squad and illegal drugs, according to the referral letter of the Philippine National Police (PNP) Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG).
In her supplemental affidavit dated Aug. 5, 2019, Barrido said Alejo provided her with a plane ticket from General Santos City to Manila on Dec. 6, 2016.
Alejo and Sabio allegedly fetched her at the airport and brought her to 2 convents in Makati and Quezon City from Dec. 6 to 21, 2016 where Sister Ling, Alejo and Trillanes supposedly prevented her from leaving. Barrido claimed Trillanes and Alejo talked to him over the phone.
Trillanes and Sabio have denied the allegations.
Trillanes earlier told ABS-CBN News that he had never met Barrido, describing her as someone who volunteered as a witness against Duterte but who failed the vetting process and later turned around after she did not get money she was demanding from the Trillanes camp.
Trillanes insisted that the allegations were fabricated.
"This is clearly another fabricated allegation from the Duterte administration. In the first place, I haven't even met this woman in my life. Based on the information given to me, this Guillermina person, like the infamous Bikoy, approached the religious community to seek sanctuary because of her supposed damaging information against Duterte," he told ABS-CBN News in a text message.
Sabio, for his part, told ABS-CBN News it was Barrido who volunteered information against the President and he personally believed her claims.
Despite his falling out with Trillanes, Sabio defended the former senator saying Trillanes and Alejo in fact doubted Barrido which is why she was dropped as a possible witness.
The Trillanes camp shared a video of Barrido freely making her allegations against the President with Sabio’s voice asking her for details.
Both Trillanes and Sabio pointed out that Barrido never claimed she was kidnapped and detained during her April 2017 press conference where she first accused the 2 of plotting to smear the President’s name.
In her April 7, 2017 affidavit, which was also submitted to the DOJ, Barrido claimed Alejo and Trillanes visited her several times and did not allow her to leave her room, treating her as a “prisoner.”
But in the same affidavit, she said it was Alejo and a female companion who brought her to the airport so she could take the flight back to General Santos City.
Asked why she did not make the kidnapping claim earlier, Barrido told ABS-CBN Davao last month she focused on exposing the alleged destabilization plot against the President and it was the police who later told her that what happened to her could be considered “serious illegal detention.”
In her 2017 affidavit, Barrido also claimed she received at least P200,000 from January to August 2016 for her anti-Duterte posts on social media coming from a certain Myra and other persons based outside the country.
Trillanes’ aide allegedly promised her P1 million in total – half after testifying in the Senate and the other half after testifying before the International Criminal Court.
Aside from Barrido’s affidavits, the PNP-CIDG also presented text messages between Barrido, Sabio and other personalities supposedly showing how the alleged attempted smear campaign took place.
The PNP-CIDG and the Office of the Solicitor General had tried to introduce Barrido’s affidavit as new evidence in the sedition complaint against Trillanes, Alejo and more than 30 others but DOJ prosecutors shot down that attempt, reminding the OSG it declared the complaint and the evidence were complete.
Prosecutors also denied CIDG’s bid to file a reply-affidavit and Peter Joemel Advincula’s attempt to file a counter-affidavit.
Still, Advincula filed by courier a motion to admit counter-affidavit attaching the affidavits of Barrido and Perfecto Tagalog as well as Sabio’s article against Trillanes.
Tagalog claimed Trillanes tried to recruit him to tie presidential son and Davao Rep. Paolo Duterte to rice smuggling while Sabio claimed Trillanes tried to get him to lawyer for Advincula in the viral “Ang Totoong Narco-list” videos.
The DOJ prosecutors have yet to rule on Advincula’s motion and are set to resolve the sedition complaint soon.