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Lawyers’ group to file sedition case vs Trillanes

Jacinto Paras yesterday said they would file a consolidated criminal complaint against Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV by Thursday next week either before the Office of the Ombudsman or the Department of Justice (DOJ). File

MANILA, Philippines — A group of pro-administration lawyers led by former Negros Oriental congressman Jacinto Paras is set to file multiple criminal charges against Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV for allegedly inciting the military to oust and kill President Duterte.

Paras yesterday said they would file a consolidated criminal complaint against Trillanes by Thursday next week either before the Office of the Ombudsman or the Department of Justice (DOJ).

“Trillanes is inciting the military to kill the President because the ill-gotten wealth was not proven. He even said M-60 machine guns should be used to kill the President because if ordinary guns would be used, these will run out of bullets,” Paras told a press conference in Quezon City.

Paras led lawyers Manuelito Luna, Glenn Chong, Eligio Mallari and Nasser Marohomsalic in declaring their intention to file charges of inciting to sedition and proposal to commit coup d’etat against Trillanes in his privilege speech.

Trillanes brushed off the threats, saying the charges stemmed from his privilege speech last Oct. 4.

He welcomed the planned filing of the complaint, saying it may even work to his advantage.

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Trillanes said that though he finds this allegation against him as absurd, he would welcome it as an opportunity for him to bring out the truth about Duterte’s wealth.

“No matter how absurd these cases may seem, I actually welcome them because, as part of my legal defense, I would be able to prove my claim on Duterte’s ill-gotten wealth,” Trillanes said. 

“Specifically, I would be able to ask the court to subpoena his bank documents as an exemption to the Bank Secrecy Law,” he added.

Paras was referring to Trillanes’ privilege speech, in which the senator claimed Duterte’s bank transactions amount to about P2 billion.

Trillanes was at the time responding to Duterte’s earlier pronouncement that soldiers can “shoot or overthrow” him if it could be proven that his savings exceeded P40 million.

“If you used your speech to commit a crime especially against the government, you can be charged with inciting to sedition (and) proposal to commit coup d’etat... If you attempt to cause the public to hate the president or endanger him, that’s already inciting to sedition. He has crossed the line,” Luna said.

The group also claimed Trillanes violated the Anti-Money Laundering law by divulging “erroneous” details on Duterte’s bank transactions without permission from the agency or from any court, in contravention of the Bank Secrecy Law. – With Marvin Sy

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