Trillanes charged with inciting sedition

Senator Antonio Trillanes IV (Inquirer.net photo)

A COPY of a resolution suggesting Senator Antonio Trillanes IV be charged for inciting to sedition was made public on Tuesday, February 26.

The resolution, dated Jan. 29, 2019, was released by Assistant City Prosecutor Reynaldo Ticyado.

Labor Undersecretary Jing Paras and Presidential Anti-Corruption Commissioner Manuelito Luna filed sedition raps against Trillanes for his “incendiary and hateful speeches against President Duterte after issuance of Proclamation 572 that voided the amnesty granted to him during the previous administration.”

Under Article 142 of the Revised Penal Code, inciting to sedition can be done through speeches, proclamations, writings, emblems, cartoons, banners or other representations “which tend to disturb or obstruct any lawful officer in executing the functions of his office, or which tend to instigate others to cabal and meet together for unlawful purposes, or which suggest or incite rebellious conspiracies or riots, or which lead or tend to stir up the people against the lawful authorities or to disturb the peace of the community, the safety and order of the Government, or who shall knowingly conceal such evil practices.”

Trillanes is being sued over a media interview he did on Sept. 4, 2018 for allegedly saying: “Itong amnesty is an act of Congress. Hindi siya masusupersede ng isang executive order (This amnesty is an act of Congress. It won’t be superseded by an executive order),” and “Di ko maisip na they would go to great lengths, even make themselves look stupid para lang to get rid of me. Isa lang hamon ko eh. Pumirma sya ng waiver. Magkaalaman. Magreresign ako. Sabi ko papasok ako sa kulungan. Di mo kailangan gumawa ng ganitong kalokohan. (I didn’t think they would go to great lengths, even make themselves look stupid just to get rid of me. I only have one challenge. Sign the waiver. Let’s see. I will resign. I said I’ll go to jail. You don’t need to do this kind of stupidity).

According to Ticyado, Trillanes’ words were intended to instill in the minds of the people a feeling of hatred and distrust towards the president of the Philippines, the government and its duly constituted authorities.

In Trillanes’ counter-affidavit, he said he was interviewed by media in his capacity as a lawmaker.

However, the prosecutor said that the opposition senator’s defense of parliamentary immunity is not applicable as the statements “relate to the presidential proclamation revoking the previous grant of amnesty to him and therefore not made while the Senate was in session and in connection with the discharge of his official duties as a senator.”

Ticyado also issued one-page information or charge sheet on the indictment that was filed on February 11 before the Pasay Metropolitan Court. It was made public on Tuesday as well.

This is not the first inciting to sedition charge against Trillanes.

The senator was first charged for inciting sedition by Pasay City Senior Assistant City Prosecutor Joahna Gabatino-Lim in March 2018 over a separate complaint on his pronouncements on Duterte’s alleged hidden wealth.

The case was given to the Pasay Metropolitan Trial Court Branch 45.

Trillanes is also facing a libel charge filed before a Davao court by former Davao City Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte and Manases Carpio, the president’s son and son-in-law, respectively.

In addition, he has been ordered by the Court of Appeals (CA) to answer the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) petition which seeks his arrest and trial for coup d’etat over the 2003 Oakwood mutiny.

The DOJ appealed the Makati Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 148’s decision last October not to revive Trillanes’ criminal case despite Proclamation No. 572 issued by President Rodrigo Duterte in August that nullified the 2010 amnesty given to rebel soldiers, mainly Trillanes.

The CA’s Seventh Division, composed of Associate Justices Sesinando Villon, Edwin Sorongon and Germano Legaspi, gave Trillanes 10 days to answer DOJ’s petition to overturn the decision of Makati RTC Branch 148 Judge Andres Soriano. 

Ritchel Mendiola

Ritchel Mendiola is a staff writer and reporter for the Asian Journal. You can reach her at ritchel.mendiola@asianjournalinc.com.

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