QC court orders arrest of Trillanes, others in sedition raps

MANILA — The Quezon City Metropolitan Trial Court (MeTC) has issued arrest warrants against former senator Antonio Trillanes IV and several others charged with conspiracy to commit sedition filed by the Department of Justice (DOJ).

Aside from Trillanes and whistleblower Peter Joemel Advincula alias “Bikoy”, likewise ordered arrested by MeTC Branch 138 Judge Kristine Grace Suarez are Jonnel P. Sangalang, Yolanda Ong, Fr. Flaviano Villanueva, Fr. Albert E. Alejo, Vicente R. Romano III, film actor Joel Saracho, Eduardo Acierto, publicist Boom Enriquez, and a certain “Monique”.

Lawyer Lorenzo Gadon said “Bikoy” intends to post bail next week.

Villanueva and Alejo subsequently posted bail.

Prosecutors who approved the filing of charges earlier declined to comment whether Advincula will be utilized by prosecutors who will handle the case as a state witness or merely as an ordinary witness.

Advincula incriminated his co-accused in a plot to smear President Rodrigo Duterte and his family in a video released online titled “Ang Totoong Narcolist” during the May 2019 midterm elections.

The complaint alleged that Trillanes and his co-accused are involved in “circulating malicious and scurrilous libels and fabricating evidence against him and his immediate family members, making it appear that the president and his family are engaged in a drug trade syndicate, with no other purpose but to inflict an act of hate or revenge against the president and his immediate family members.”

The charges were approved by Prosecutor General Benedicto Malcontento upon the recommendation of the panel of prosecutors led by Senior Assistant State Prosecutor Olivia Laroza-Torrevillas and Assistant State Prosecutors Michael John Humarang and Gino S. Paolo Santiago.

In a statement, Trillanes said he will post bail once he arrives back in the country from a trip abroad next week.

Meanwhile, the Philippine National Police (PNP) said it is ready to lead operations to arrest the suspects.

PNP spokesperson, Brig. Gen. Bernard Banac, said the accused who have not yet posted bail are subject to arrest.

“Ngayon ay pinaghahandaan na ng PNP ito at inaalam na natin ang kinaroroonan ng bawat isa [Now, the PNP is preparing for this and we are tracking the location of each of them],” Banac told reporters when sought for a comment.

Banac said there is no need to coordinate with the International Police on Trillanes’ whereabouts unless he could not be found within a prescription period of 30 days. Benjamin Pulta with reports from Christopher Lloyd Caliwan/PNA

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