Trillanes posts bail for libel case filed by Junjun
Mike Frialde (The Philippine Star) - February 9, 2016 - 9:00am

MANILA, Philippines – Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV posted P10,000 bail yesterday morning on the libel case that former Makati mayor Jejomar Erwin Binay Jr. filed   against him.

Shortly after arriving from the US, he went to Makati Regional Trial Court Branch 142 before 11 a.m. and met with Judge Dina Pestaño Teves in her office.

Teves had ordered the arrest of Trillanes after the Department of Justice found probable cause to indict him for libel.

Trillanes told reporters after the meeting with Teves that he had posted bail to show that he would face whatever case Vice President Jejomar Binay would hurl against him.

“These are his tactics,” he said in Filipino. “He is using his influence and power to frighten and confuse his political opponent.”

Trillanes said the libel case that former mayor Binay had filed against him is a form of harassment coming from Vice President Binay who is now running for president.

“He (Binay) is not yet president,” he said in Filipino. “More so when he becomes president, he would use his office to pin down his opponents.”

Trillanes said he is not cowed by the libel case and he vowed to fight it in court.

“We will have different remedies to resolve this harassment suit,” he said in Filipino.

“Nevertheless, we shall stand against it. We will not back out. I will be more encouraged to ensure that the Binays would no longer hold any post.”

Trillanes said his lawyers are still readying his motion for reconsideration to be filed with the DOJ.

He is comfortable having the libel case tried in a Makati court where he was previously tried for coup d’etat over his alleged participation in the Oakwood Mutiny and for the Manila Peninsula siege, he added.

Critic of Binay or Duterte

Trillanes said he would serve as critic of a president Binay or Rodrigo Duterte if he is elected vice president.

In an interview with Mike Enriquez over radio dzBB  yesterday, Trillanes said he doesn’t expect to get any government post in a Duterte or Binay administration.

“We have different views,” he said.

“So we will be watching abuses and excesses he would be committing, particularly on the curtailment of basic liberties,” he said of Duterte.

Trillanes cautioned voters against being swayed by Duterte’s anti-crime campaign  promises.

Despite his 28 years in government service, Duterte has failed to stamp out illegal drugs in Davao City, he added.

Trillanes said Duterte has also sanctioned extrajudicial killings to fight criminality.

“When he becomes president what can he do?” he asked. “Give license to the police to just kill anybody. That’s always the possibility. We should not be swayed by his boastful words.”

Trillanes said he would be closely watching all of  Binay’s dealings in case Binay becomes president and he is elected vice president.

His victory would be nothing if he wins as vice president and the next president is corrupt, he added.

Therefore he has included in his campaign advocacies to convince the people to pick the right president.

Trillanes said he has nothing against Liberal Party standard-bearer Manuel Roxas II and People’s Reform Party presidential candidate Miriam Defensor-Santiago.

His group is throwing its support behind the presidential candidacy of Sen. Grace Poe, he added.

Trillanes said if he wins the vice presidential race, he is open to working with either Roxas, Santiago or Poe if one of them is elected president.

“I think we can cooperate and work together,” he said.

“But for the two, Binay and Duterte, we will be watching them for their excesses.”

It is his duty to expose their excesses for the public to know and for Congress to decide if it warrants impeachment proceedings, he added.

Trillanes said he is just doing his duty by exposing alleged anomalies of Binay, just like what they did at Oakwood in 2003 against the Arroyo administration.

“It’s an obligation as a former soldier,” he said.

“We saw an anomaly and we exposed Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo at the expense of our freedom and physical safety. But the thing was, we did our obligation as soldiers. We stood by it.

“At the end of the day, are we right with our exposés. Okay, even if you will not vote for me, my question is, are we right on our exposés against Vice President Binay or are we just making up all these accusations?”

Trillanes, who is seeking the vice presidency as an independent candidate, told reporters that he would be holding his proclamation rally today in General Santos City where he enjoys a strong following.

Binay to also post bail

Meanwhile, former Makati mayor Binay Jr. and his 22 co-respondents in the criminal cases to be filed against them in connection with the allegedly overpriced Makati City Hall Building II would have to post a total bail bond that could reach P10.120 million to avoid detention once the complaints reach the Sandiganbayan.

Each of them will need at least P440,000 for the four graft, six falsification of public documents and five malversation of public funds cases they would face.

Last week, the Office of the Ombudsman said it has found probable cause to proceed with the filing of the criminal charges against Binay and his co-respondents.

Each graft charge carries a bail of P30,000 per count, falsification of public documents P20,000 per count and malversation of public funds P40,000 per count.

As of yesterday, the anti-graft agency has yet to elevate the cases to the Sandiganbayan but it is expected to do so within the week.

Once filed, the cases would be raffled off to a division of the anti-graft court which, after judicial determination of probable cause, may issue arrest warrants and hold departure orders against the accused.

Respondents in Sandiganbayan cases sometimes opt to post bail ahead of the issuance of arrest orders against them.

Construction of the P2.2-billion Makati City Hall Building II was completed in five phases plus one design phase that spanned the terms of Vice President Binay and his son as mayors.

Investigation allegedly revealed that no public bidding was conducted prior to engaging the services of a project designer as the procurement process was allegedly manipulated to ensure the award of contract.

During the building phase, city officials colluded with Hilmarc’s Construction Co. to manipulate the outcome of five “public biddings” for the purpose of ensuring that the contractor would be awarded the contracts, according to investigators of the Office of the Ombudsman.

Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales said the criminal cases against Vice President Binay will have to wait until after his term expires since he has immunity from suit, being an impeachable official.

Trillanes favors EDCA

Trillanes told dzBB the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement with the US will afford the Filipino soldier psychological comfort of having a security blanket in the face of growing tension in the West Philippine Sea.

“We will be having a security blanket or psychological comfort with the presence of the US forces in light of the West Philippine Sea issue,” he said.

Under EDCA, US troops and their equipment are allowed to position equipment inside key Philippine military camps in Mindanao, the Visayas and Luzon.

Trillanes said the Philippines has not acquired new military equipment for the last 12 years.

It is only under the term of President Aquino that  military equipment were acquired, he added.  – With Michael Punongbayan

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