Davao court issues arrest warrant vs. Trillanes for libel

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, December 7) — Another arrest warrant has been issued against Senator Antonio Trillanes IV by a local court-- this time, for alleged libel.  

The Davao Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 54 on Friday ordered Trillanes' arrest following the complaint filed by Presidential son and former Davao City Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte in September.

The local court set Trillanes' bail at P24,000.  

 

The presidential son and his brother-in-law Mans Carpio earlier filed separate libel complaints against Trillanes for the senator's allegations of corruption.  

Duterte and Carpio said Trillanes made "false, baseless, and unfounded" claims when the senator in September 2017 accused the two of extorting money from ride-hailing firms. 

The former Davao City vice mayor earlier dismissed Trillanes' claims as "black propaganda" which was meant to detract him and his father President Rodrigo Duterte.  

Under the Revised Penal Code, libel is punishable by up to six months imprisonment.  

A known staunch critic of the Duterte administration, Trillanes made headlines this year when Duterte's Proclamation No. 572 voided the amnesty given to him in 2011.  

In September, the Makati Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 150 issued a warrant of arrest for Trillanes for rebellion. The lawmaker is out on bail for that case. 

Unfair justice?

Trillanes meanwhile said he is ready to face the case.

The senator revealed he will post bail before the court on Monday, as the service of arrest warrants for "minor cases" like libel-according to his lawyers-is prohibited during Fridays and weekends.

"I was informed by my lawyers that the service of warrants of arrests for minor cases like libel on Fridays, weekends and holidays is prohibited per existing DOJ circular and that under Article VI, Section 11 of the Constitution, as a member of Congress, I am privileged from being arrested in cases punishable by less than six (6) years imprisonment while Congress is in session," Trillanes said in a statement.

He also slammed the fairness in the country's justice system, insinuating that the said arrest warrant was released the same day former senator Bong Revilla was acquitted of plunder.

"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.

[Translation: Justice under the Duterte government works in reverse. The plunderer is free, while they make up cases against critics just so they can be detained.]