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Cebu News

Court grants bail for Trillanes, Lim

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MANILA, Philippines — The court yesterday granted bail to a senator and 17 soldiers, who are in jail while on trial for a bizarre failed coup staged at a luxury hotel in 2007.

However the alleged coup leaders — Senator Antonio Trillanes IV and Brigadier General Danilo Lim — will likely remain in prison even if they post bail as they face other charges over earlier rebellions, their lawyer said.

Makati City Regional Trial Court judge Elmo Alameda said the 18 should not have languished in jail for more than two years while they waited for their trial to end.

“The prosecution failed to demonstrate that the evidence of guilt of the accused for the crime of rebellion is strong (enough) to foreclose their right to bail,” Alameda said.

He set bail of P 200,000 for each of the men.

Trillanes and Lim allegedly led a group of rebel soldiers and civilians in taking over the Peninsula hotel in Makati in November 2007 to call for President Gloria Arroyo’s resignation.

The one-day standoff ended after Arroyo ordered the military to ram tanks into the hotel lobby, forcing the rebels to surrender amid a hail of gunfire and tear gas.

Trillanes was being tried for a 2003 mutiny when he and his supporters overpowered their guards, walked out of the court room and marched to the Peninsula.

Lim is also on trial in a military court for a 2006 plot to oust Arroyo.

Trillanes, who won a Senate seat in 2007 while campaigning from behind bars, called the ruling a “victory” for the justice system.

“I am very happy for my companions as their long awaited freedom is finally at hand,” he said in a statement released from prison at the Philippine National Police Custodial Center in Camp Crame.

However the 16 military officers were not released on Wednesday, as their bail money was not immediately posted.

The lawyer for Trillanes and Lim, Ernesto Francisco, said the two would likely remain behind bars because there had not been a ruling on their earlier cases.

Francisco is also set to appeal to reduce the bail to P80,000 since most of his clients cannot afford the P200,000 set by the judge.

Most of the ring leaders in the 2003 mutiny were freed over the past two years after they apologized to Arroyo.

Trillanes has refused to apologize and said his 2007 Senate victory vindicated his actions.

Aside from Trillanes and Lim, who is now seeking a seat in the Senate; also allowed to post bail are Navy Lt. Senior Grade James Layug and Marine Capt. Gary Alejano, who are running for congressman of Taguig City and mayor of Sipalay City, respectively.

Another detained officer seeking public office is Marine Col. Ariel Querubin, who is also running for senator.

Lim has been adopted by the Liberal Party while Querubin is running under the banner of the Nacionalista Party. —/ NLQ (THE FREEMAN)

ARIEL QUERUBIN

BAIL

BRIGADIER GENERAL DANILO LIM

CAMP CRAME

ELMO ALAMEDA

ERNESTO FRANCISCO

GARY ALEJANO

LIBERAL PARTY

MAKATI CITY REGIONAL TRIAL COURT

TRILLANES

TRILLANES AND LIM

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