MANILA - (4th UPDATE) A Davao court ordered on Friday the arrest of Senator Antonio Trillanes IV for libel.
The Davao City Regional Trial Court Branch 54 set bail at P24,000 for each of the four cases of libel, bringing it to a total of P96,000.
President Rodrigo Duterte's son, Paolo, filed a libel case against Trillanes in September, a year after the senator accused him of corruption.
Trillanes, in 2017, claimed Paolo Duterte and brother-in-law Manases Carpio were involved in a scheme to extort money from ride-hailing firms.
Trillanes, in a statement, said he would post bail for the case on Monday, Dec. 10.
This after he was informed by his lawyers that as a senator, he enjoys the privilege of not being arrested for cases punishable by less than 6 years imprisonment while Congress is in session.
"So, instead of turning myself in, which is apparently not possible under the circumstances, I will just post bail before the appropriate court on Monday," he added.
Trillanes, a leading critic of President Duterte, also cried foul over his latest legal problem.
"Baliktad ang hustisya sa gobyerno ni Duterte. Ang mga mandarambong ay pinalaya na. Ang mga kritiko naman ay gagawan ng kaso para pilit na maikulong," he said.
(Justice in the Duterte administration is lopsided. Corrupt officials are freed while critics are slapped with trumped up charges so they'd end up in jail.)
In a Facebook post, the younger Duterte said he is content with the arrest order.
"Ok na ko ani (nito). Merry Christmas," he said.
The Department of Justice (DOJ), meanwhile, said the warrant issued is "intended to ensure the presence of the accused during trial."
Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra advised Trillanes to post bail immediately to avoid being arrested at the airport.
"Libel is a bailable offense. Sen. Trillanes should post bail asap lest he be arrested at the airport," Guevarra said in a text message.
The arrest warrant comes after Trillanes paid a P200,000 travel bond at a Makati Court after it junked the DOJ's request for a hold departure order against the senator.
Trillanes is set to fly to the Netherlands, Spain and United Kingdom from Dec. 11, 2018 to Jan. 12, 2019, and the US from Jan. 27 to Feb. 10, 2019 to meet different groups and attend various activities as part of his official duties.
Trillanes' libel case is just one of the senator's many legal woes after President Rodrigo Duterte invalidated his amnesty through Proclamation 572.
The senator is out on bail since September after a Makati Court ordered his arrest for rebellion over his role in the 2007 Manila Peninsula siege.
Trillanes evaded another arrest in October this year when another Makati Court junked the DOJ's request for an arrest warrant over the senator's role in the 2003 Oakwood mutiny.
The former Navy lieutenant-turned-lawmaker is also facing 2 inciting to sedition cases filed by Duterte-allied Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption lawyers Glenn Chong, Jacinto Paras, and Manuelito Luna over 2 separate incidents.
The first is related to Trillanes’ privilege speech in the Senate in October 2017 where he allegedly urged soldiers to shoot the President using M60 machine guns.
The second one is based on the senator’s remarks after the President voided his amnesty. They claimed Trillanes sowed hatred against the President by calling him a dictator. --With reports from Melanie Severino and Ina Reformina, ABS-CBN News