Lawyers’ group to file raps vs Trillanes

MANILA — A group of lawyers led by former congressmen Jacinto Paras and Glenn Chong is set to file a complaint on Thursday against Senator Antonio Trillanes IV over his ‘insinuations’ against President Rodrigo Duterte.

Aside from Paras and Chong, the complainants include lawyers Nasser Marohomsalic, Nestor Ifurung, Eligio Mallari and Doy Bringas, and groups Bantay Demokrasya and Kilusang Pagbabago-Sulu.

The group intends to file charges of inciting to sedition, conspiracy to commit coup d’etat and other offenses against Trillanes before the city prosecutor’s office in Pasay.

The complainants will cite as basis the statements made by Trillanes against Duterte in his privilege speech at the Senate last Oct. 3, and his speech during the launch of Tindig Pilipinas movement last Oct. 14 involving Duterte’s alleged bank account deposits.

The group’s lawyer, Manuelito Luna, explained that the speeches made by Trillanes, including his privilege speech in the Senate, are not protected by immunity from suits.

“The Oct. 3 privilege speech against the President and the government is not a protected speech under the Speech or Debate Clause, in light of the holdings in U.S. v. Brewster and Heltoski v. U.S. Neither was his speech during the launching of Tindig Pilipinas’ signature gathering against the President nor his media statements is protected,” Luna stressed.

In the said privilege speech, Trillanes accused Duterte of having bank accounts with transactions amounting to over P2 billion from Sept. 2006 to Dec. 2015.

The senator also alleged that the administration bought false information from “financial forensic expert” Daniel “Snooky” Cruz involving his supposed offshore accounts in a bank in Singapore for P10 million to destroy his credibility.

Luna pointed out that the senator’s acts of rumor-mongering and spreading false information were unlawful.

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