Woman accusing Trillanes of bribery meets DOJ chief, mulls raps vs senator

MANILA — A businesswoman from Davao City who accused Senator Antonio Trillanes IV of bribing her to testify against President Rodrigo Duterte met Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II on Monday.

Guillermina “Grace” Barrido Arcillas, accompanied by lawyer Bruce Rivera, appeared at Aguirre’s office in Manila and talk to him about her plans to press charges against Trillanes.

Arcillas said it was only today that she, with the help of Rivera, was able to secure an appointment with Aguirre to discuss the matter, adding that she was forced to hide due to numerous death threats she received after revealing Trillanes’ act.

She claimed that one of the Senator’s staff made the offer which allegedly involve her receiving PHP500,000 as initial downpayment and another PHP500,000 after a case is filed against Duterte before the International Criminal Court.

She said it was Trillanes whom she suspected as the one who is behind the threats.

“Wala na pong iba kundi si Senator Trillanes (There is no one other than Senator Trillanes),” she said when asked who she suspected of being behind the threats though she did not present evidence to back up her claim.

Asked why she became a fake witness against President Duterte, she answered “unang una, nahirapan na po sila na maghanap rin, lalo na po sa DDS (Davao Death Squad). Tapos yun po sakin, kaya gusto po nila sa akin, kasi ang isa po sa City Councilor’s office sa Davao City, relative ko. Kaya po sa ginawa nila na affidavit, kunwari may relasyon yung Tita ko with the President, para mas kumbinsido.”

Arcillas who claimed she is a relative of a Davao city councilor said she also did not have any communication with President Duterte.

“Actually, kahit sa Presidente, hanggang ngayon, wala pa naman kaming contact. Wala naman kaming communication (Actually, even with the President till now, I have no communication with him. We have no communication),’ she added.

But Arcillas eventually declined an offer by the DOJ chief to be placed under the Witness Protection Program.

“We went here to talk to Secretary Aguirre and to tell the Secretary about her case. She wants to file a case. She was offered witness protection, but we didn’t want to, at this point, since we don’t want this thing to be colored by politics. We just have to make sure that she was properly secured,” Rivera told reporters in a chance interview after the meeting.

But he said he doesn’t know yet what cases will Arcillas file against Trillanes since he is not her lawyer.

“I don’t know what cases since I’m not her lawyer. She has a lawyer in Davao City who will handle everything. I’m just here to help her out in talking with Secretary Aguirre, and deciphering for everyone on how we are going to do about it,’ Rivera added.

He said he and Arcillas only met on Facebook where she asked for her help in getting time to discuss her plans to file cases against the senator. Christopher Lloyd Caliwan/PNA