Roque files counter-affidavit vs Trillanes' libel raps

Ian Laqui - Philstar.com
Roque files counter-affidavit vs Trillanes' libel raps
Undated file photo of Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV shakes hands with presidential spokesman Harry Roque
Geremy Pintolo, file

MANILA, Philippines — Former presidential spokesperson Harry Roque has filed a counter-affidavit in response to the libel charges against him by former Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV.

In a 26-page counter-affidavit filed by Roque before the Office of the City Prosecutor dated July 18, he said that his pronouncement concerning the “backroom channel” mission regarding the Scarborough Shoal is a criticism for Trillanes' conduct as a public official.

“As a public figure, Complainant should not have been onion-skinned in reacting to my criticisms of his conduct in the 'high- stakes negotiations comprising of backchannel mission.' Such criticisms are insulated from libel judgment and are covered by the doctrine of privileged communication,” Roque’s counter-affidavit read.

“Other than his self-serving statement that I caused the publication of the assailed remarks with complete knowledge of their falsity and reckless disregard of the same, Complainant has not made any convincing argument that there is actual malice in my statements,” it added.

He also said that the elements of the crimes of libel and cyberlibel are missing in the video concerned in the case where Roque spoke about Trillanes.

“Absent any proof of actual malice in the allegedly libelous statements in my video, there is no Cyberlibel or Libel since an essential element of the crime is missing in the statements made in the video,” it read.

Aside from Roque, Trillanes also filed a case against pro-Duterte vloggers and hosts of Sonshine Media Network International (SMNI) over persistent attacks and "fake news" on May 14.

The former senator sued them after accusing him of “giving away” the Scarborough Shoal to China in 2012 through different videos posted on social media in March and April 2024.

Trillanes filed two distinct charges of libel: one under the Revised Penal Code (RPC) and another for cyber libel under the Cybercrime Prevention Act.

Section 6 of the Cybercrime Prevention Act states that if an offense defined under the RPC is also punishable under this law, the penalty upon conviction will be one degree higher.

Aside from the counter-affidavit, Roque also lodged a counter-charge against Trillanes, saying that he violated the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act and the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees.

“The acts and omissions of the Complainant in relation to his participation in the backdoor 'high stakes negotiations' are inconsistent with the time-honored principle that a public office is a public trust,” Roque’s counter-charge read.

In a separate statement, Roque said that the “backroom negotiation” was “ grossly disadvantageous to the government” as the former senator performed an “executive function while he was a legislator.”

According to Roque, this act of the former senator “contravened the doctrine of separation of powers and the constitutional prohibition on holding another public office.”

“The Complainant allowed himself to be persuaded, induced, or influenced to violate the 1987 Constitution and the rules of the Senate. The negotiation was grossly disadvantageous to the government,” Roque’s statement read. 

When asked for a comment concerning the counter-charge, Trillanes said: "Harry Roque is just squeezing blood from stone. Nothing will come out of that. Roque's time would be better spent travelling with Mr. Supranational."

vuukle comment








  • Latest
  • Trending
Are you sure you want to log out?

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

Get Updated:

Signup for the News Round now

or sign in with