Pasay prosecutor files inciting to sedition rap vs. Trillanes


MANILA — The Pasay City Prosecutor’s Office has recommended the filing of inciting to sedition case against Senator Antonio Trillanes IV for allegedly inciting rebellious acts against the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte.

In a 15-page resolution dated March 14, Senior Assistant City Prosecutor Joahna Gabatino-Lim has approved the filing of the case against Trillanes for violation of inciting to sedition (Article 142, Revised Penal Code or RPC) based on the complaint filed by former Negros Oriental Rep. Jacinto “Jing” Paras, who is currently a member of the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC).

“The charge for conspiracy and proposal to commit coup d’etat cannot prosper. The acts complained of do not show that respondent proposes to other persons the commission of the crime of coup d’etat,” the resolution read.

“The utterances he made may have been suggestive to fall within the scope of inciting to sedition but it is not sufficient to engender a well-founded belief that he directly proposes to others a swift attack accompanied by violence, intimidation, threat, strategy, or stealth against the government,” it added.

The resolution also said that “the utterances made against the President and his family regarding bank transanctions and bank deposit in huge amounts, thereby imputing commission of graft and corruptions against them is entirely not in aid of legislation.”

“To say the least the speech is purely an attack to the President and his family. The allegations contained in the speech were not even supported by documentary proof. Worthy to note is the fact that the AMLC denied being the source of the documents and information attached by respondent in his complaint regarding the alleged bank accounts,” read the resolution approved by Officer-in-Charge City Prosecutor Benjamin Lanto.

Lim said that the complaint conspiracy and commit coup d’etat (Article 136, RPC), and graft (Section 3(e), Republic Act 3019) against Trillanes has been dismissed for lack of probable cause.

The inciting to sedition case with bail recommended has been raffled to Pasay Metropolitan Trial Court Branch 45.

In their complaint-affidavit, they cited the statements made by Trillanes against Duterte in his privilege speech at the Senate last Oct. 3, that the soldiers may shoot the President upon the latter’s wish if the allegations of hidden wealth would be proven.

During his privilege speech, the lawmaker made statements about the alleged millions of pesos of ill-gotten wealth of Duterte.

“Trillanes not only repeatedly uttered seditious words or speeches (Art. 142, R.P.C.) and unabatedly circulated scurrilous libels against the President (Art. 142, R.P.C.), which tend to disturb the public peace, but also repeatedly incited others to inflict any hate or revenge upon his person (Art. 142, in relation to Art. 139 (3), R.P.C.,” read the complaint.

Trillanes is insisting on the evidence consisting of bank transaction records allegedly to have been sourced from the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC), despite the AMLC’s disclaimer that the documents did not come from them.

The purported bank transaction documents, which Overall Deputy Ombudsman Arthur Carandang also claimed he is in possession of, was disavowed by the AMLC.

The lawyers also took to task Trillanes’ record of major involvements in notable coup d’ etats during the Arroyo administration.

For his involvements in these incidents, Trillanes’ assurance that yellow-oriented group TindigPilipinas’ nationwide signature drive calling on Duterte to sign a waiver for his bank records appear to lack credibility, the complaint stated.

Though Trillanes assured the petition-signing drive is not a destabilization attempt, the complainants said the lawmaker “lacks credibility given his record of major involvement in coup d’ etat or destabilization attempts.”

The complainants cited the senator’s record of major involvements in coup d’ etats during the Arroyo administration – Oakwood Mutiny in July 2003, the Marine standoff last February 2006 and the Manila Peninsula siege in November 2007.

Trillanes and other members of Magdalo soldiers were charged with coup d’ etat over the said incidents, but they were cleared after being granted amnesty by former President Benigno Aquino III in 2010.

Aside from Paras, the complainants include lawyers Glenn Chong, Nasser Marohomsalic, Nestor Ifurung, Eligio Mallari and Eduardo Bringas, and Louise Biraogo.