Pasay prosecutor resumes hearing on sedition, coup raps vs. Trillanes

MANILA — The Pasay City Prosecutor’s Office on Thursday continued its preliminary investigation of the “inciting to sedition” and “proposal to commit coup d’etat” criminal charges filed against Senator Antonio Trillanes IV.

The charges stemmed from Trillanes’ pronouncements after President Rodrigo Duterte canceled his amnesty under Proclamation No. 572.

Pasay Assistant City Prosecutor Reynaldo Ticyado received the counter-affidavit from the respondent and directed the complainants, led by Presidential Anti-Corruption Commissioner and lawyer Manuelito Luna, to file a reply during the continuation of the hearings on November 8.

Luna explained that the case they filed will not be affected by recent developments at the Makati Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branches 148 and 150.

“This is totally separate, independent and distinct of the cases pending in the two branches of the Makati regional trial court. These involved the statements he made to media after Proclamation No. 572 was issued and after he posted bail in the Makati RTC,” he said.

Luna added that the lawmaker should be held liable for the outbursts he made in statements calling for military action against Duterte, shortly after Malacañang declared that the amnesty granted to him was defective.

“The statements (by Trillanes) were incendiary and hateful of the President where he urged the military to overthrow the government. We are filing this as private citizens in defense of the republic,” he told the Philippine News Agency (PNA) shortly after the hearing.

Aside from Luna, the other complainants in the case are lawyers Jacinto V. Paras, Nasser A. Marohomsalic, and Eligio P. Mallari.

The Makati RTC Branch 148, where the Department of Justice (DOJ) is seeking Trillanes’ indictment for his participation in a number of failed coup attempts when he was still in the military, earlier upheld the validity of Proclamation No. 572.

The court, however, denied the DOJ’s motion for the issuance of an arrest warrant and hold departure order against the lawmaker, citing that the favorable decision clearing Trillanes during the time of the Aquino administration had long become final and executory.
Trillanes had posted bail in another court, Makati RTC Branch 150, where he is also facing charges.

The senator, in his counter-affidavit before the Pasay prosecutor, said that “(t)he elements of conspiracy and or proposal to commit coup d’etat have not been sufficiently proven by complainants. Thus, the charges against respondent must be dismissed.”

He also claimed the complainants “have no personal knowledge of the factual allegations in the complaint affidavit, the same having been based almost entirely on printouts of online news articles, which, in fact and in law, are considered as double-hearsay or hearsay evidence, twice removed.” Benjamin Pulta/