Trillanes moves for dismissal of sedition charge over 'Ang Totoong Narcolist' videos
In this Dec. 10, 2018 file photo shows Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV visiting the Pasay court to pay the bail amounting to P96,000 or P24,000 for each of four counts of libel.
The STAR/Edd Gumban

Trillanes moves for dismissal of sedition charge over 'Ang Totoong Narcolist' videos

Kristine Joy Patag ( - October 22, 2020 - 3:39pm

MANILA, Philippines — Former Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV has moved for the dismissal for the conspiracy to commit inciting to sedition charge he is facing over his supposed involvement in the “Ang Totoong Narcolist” anonymous videos.

Trillanes was supposed to be arraigned on Tuesday before a Quezon City court, but his lawyer Reynaldo Robles said the arraignment was reset pending the Motion to Quash Information, or a pleading seeking the dismissal of the case, they filed.

The former senator has joined the Motion to Quash filed by his co-accused Joselito Saracho, who was accused as the narrator in the anonymous video series accusing the Dutertes of having links to the illegal drug trade.

“Accused Trillanes, after reading the subject motion, believes with great faith that the subject motion [Saracho’s] raised valid legal issues which must be first addressed and/or resolved before the arraignment of the Accused,” their motion filed October 19 read.

The case stemmed from a complaint filed by the Philippine National Police-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group that tagged more than 30 known opposition figures, including Vice President Leni Robredo, over the “Ang Totoong Narcolist” videos.

READ: The shifting narratives on the 'Bikoy' videos, according to Peter Advincula

Only 11 people were indicted and brought to court. Trillanes and 10 others, including members of the clergy, with conspiracy to commit sedition, were charged for supposedly conspiring to discredit and eventually oust President Rodrigo Duterte by releasing the “Ang Totoong Narcolist” videos.

Fr. Flaviano Villanueva said he and Fr. Albert Alejo pleaded not guilty to the charge.

Saracho: Information is defective

In Saracho’s motion filed October 15, he said the Information or charge sheet filed failed to contain factual allegations to establish the elements of conspiracy and the crime of sedition.

He said that the Information only contained the approximate time and place of the commission of the offense and “conclusions of law, consequently depriving the accused of their constitutional right to be informed of the nature of the charge against them.”

Part of the Information read that the accused “come to an agreement and decide to rise publicly and tumultuously, and to employ force, intimidation and other means outside of legal methods against [Duterte].”

Saracho said that due to the lack of specific details in the Information, they are left to guesswork since they are not informed of the nature and cause of charge against him.

“In People v. Pangilinan, the Supreme Court held, citing People v. Dela Cruz, that a defective or deficient information is void,” he said, adding that the two cases “emphasized that the right to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation against an accused cannot be waived for reasons of public policy.”

Saracho moved for the dismissal of the case. “Surely, to let the accused suffer the travails of a protracted criminal trial only to be acquitted in the end on the ground that the Information from which the case originated was null and void is totally unjust and inhuman, adds to the unnecessary clogging of dockets, and should not be countenanced by the Court.”

Robles said the state prosecutor asked for 10 days to comment on the motion to quash, after which it would be submitted for resolution.

Next hearing is set on Jan. 21, 2021.

As It Happens
LATEST UPDATE: October 22, 2019 - 1:23pm

 A Pasay City prosecutor’s office recommends the filing of an inciting to sedition case against Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV stemming from a privilege speech in the Senate calling on military men to shoot President Rodrigo Duterte for his unexplained wealth. 

October 22, 2019 - 1:23pm

Former Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV denies allegations that he was involved in the alleged kidnapping of a certain Guillermina Lalic Barrido, also known as Guillerma Arcillas, in 2016.

The Philippine National Police in August accused Trillanes of kidnapping with illegal detention Barrido’s signed affidavit where she claimed that, in December 2016, she was brought to a room in the "Convent of Cannussian Sisters" and was not allowed to leave.

She said that Trillanes had repeatedly called her, telling her she cannot leave unless she signs an affidavit against President Rodrigo Duterte.

But Trillanes, in a counter-affidavit submitted to the Department of Justice, says "until I accidentally saw her at the DOJ Compound sometime on September 5, 2019, I have never met or even seen Ms. Barrido in person, and I have never talked to or spoken with her, whether  by  phone or in person."

He also points out that in photographs that Barrido provided as supposed proof of the kidnapping, "in  almost  all  the  said  pictures, Ms. Barrido  and [her] companions were all smiling and seemingly enjoying themselves." 

"Obviously, these are not the normal, usual or expected imagesand demeanor of a person who  is  supposedly  being 'detained' against her  will  or  is  being 'kidnapped', unless Ms. Barrido can genuinely claim that she was happy to be detained."

May 7, 2019 - 6:12pm

The Pasay court will proceed to trial on an inciting to sedition case against Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV for allegedly saying that soldiers should shoot President Rodrigo Duterte using an M-60 machine gun for his alleged hidden wealth.

In a speech in October 2017, Trillanes said: "Kung makikita ito ng mga sundalo, M60 machine gun ang gagamitin sa 'yo. Marami-rami itong maubos magazine kung P40 million hinahanap mo, Mr. Duterte."

(If soliders see this, they might use an M60 machine gun against you. This is a lot of magazine if you are looking for P40 million, Mr. Duterte.)

The speech was in reference to a Duterte speech that same month where he denied having undeclared wealth. 

“It could not be more than P40 million. It is a lifetime saving. Seventy-two [na] ako. I started to work when I was 27. Naging prosecutor ako. Pati kasali ang mga minana kong lupa. You can shoot me. You can overthrow me if you want kapag sumbobra ako doon,” Duterte said then.

"I promise you now in front of the soldiers and everybody: I will produce that account at sinasabi ko sa inyo, you can shoot me if it exceeds 40 million (pesos). Lifetime na iyan na savings ko. Hindi sosobra iyan, sigurado."

February 26, 2019 - 7:04pm

A local prosecutor finds probable cause to indict Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV on inciting to sedition raps filed by Labor Undersecretary Jing Paras and lawyer Manuelito Luna.

January 15, 2019 - 10:02am

Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV, who is in Davao City, has pleaded not guilty to the four charges of libel filed before Regional Trial Court Branch 54 by former Davao City Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte.

December 10, 2018 - 1:34pm

Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV posts bail of P96,000 before the Pasay City Regional Trial Court after a Davao court issued a warrant of arrest against him for four counts of libel filed by President Rodrigo Duterte's son, Paolo.

Judge Rowena Nieves Tan of Pasay City of Branch 118 lifted the warrant after the bail was settled, STAR's Romina Cabrera reports.

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