DOJ says motions filed vs. Trillanes foreign travel

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, December 6) — The Justice Department said it sought a hold departure order (HDO) to prevent Senator Antonio Trillanes from leaving after a Makati court cleared his foreign travel.

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said they have filed two HDO motions related to Trillanes' case of inciting to sedition filed in Pasay City, and his libel case in Davao.

The Makati Regional Trial Court Branch 150, which is handling the lawmaker's coup d' etat case, granted Trillanes' request to travel to Europe on December 11 to January 12 and to the United States on January 27 to February 10.

The court cited the senator's behavior, saying he "voluntarily surrendered and posted bail in his case upon the service of his warrant of arrest." It added that Trillanes was not a "flight risk" or an individual likely to flee the country to avoid trial or prosecution.

Trillanes has a pending coup d' etat and rebellion case with the Makati RTC, however, Guevarra clarified that the two motions for the hold departure order were not related to those cases.

"Those are cases which are independent of the rebellion charges in Makati and coup d' etat charges in Makati as well so these are not related at all," Guevarra said.

They are simply exercising their right to file for the hold departure order for individuals with pending cases as per protocol, he explained.

"There are different complainants here and they are pending in other courts and just like in any case where the jurisdiction belongs to the RTC it is the right of and prerogative of the prosecution to ask for the issuance of an HDO," he said.

"It's (standard operating procedure) whenever you know whenever an offense that is cognizable by the RTC is pending with the court and just like a motion for the issuance of a warrant of arrest, a motion for the issuance of a HDO is something that is (standard operating procedure)," he added.

The appeal for the HDO in relation to the libel case will be heard in Davao on Friday, Guevara said, while no date has been set yet for the HDO appeal in relation to the senator's inciting to sedition case in Pasay City.

In September this year, presidential son and former Davao City mayor Paolo Duterte filed a libel case against Trillanes for his "false, baseless, and unfounded" claims, when he said in September 2017 that they extorted money from ride-hailing companies.

In the same month, inciting to sedition charges were filed against the senator for his remarks against the President.