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Lawyers insist Trillanes incited sedition, planned coup vs Duterte

MANILA – The lawyers who filed an inciting to sedition and proposal to commit coup d’etat complaint against Sen. Antonio Trillanes submitted their reply-affidavit before the Pasay City Prosecutor’s office Thursday afternoon, rebutting the points raised by the senator in his counter-affidavit.

Labor Undersecretary Jing Paras, Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission Commissioner Manuelito Luna and suspended lawyer Eligio Mallari personally subscribed to their reply-affidavit before Assistant City Prosecutor Reynaldo Ticyado.

In their reply-affidavit, the lawyers insisted that the senator’s words, which he uttered shortly after the President issued Presidential Proclamation 572 voiding his amnesty, were seditious as they showed an “evil intent to sow hatred, anger and contempt against the President.”

In particular, they cited Trillanes’ statements to the media calling the President a “dictator” and claiming that the killings of ordinary people and the detention of critics are commonplace in the country. The senator was also quoted as challenging the President to sign a waiver to his bank accounts in exchange for his voluntary detention.

In addition, Trillanes allegedly asked the military and the police not to do anything illegal or unconstitutional.

The lawyers also accused Trillanes of secretly proposing to the armed forces to launch a coup against the President, although they did not cite evidence to back this claim.

Trillanes made these remarks while holed up inside the Senate in September.

But according to the lawyers, the senator cannot claim these were privileged and protected by his position as these statements were made not in the performance of his official functions. They said statements in media interviews are not covered by parliamentary speech or debate privilege.

For the same reason, the lawyers said Trillanes cannot insist that it is the Senate and not the courts which has jurisdiction over the complaint.

The camp of Trillanes had earlier moved to dismiss the complaint saying no evidence was presented. The senator maintained the complaint is an act of harassment done by those loyal to the President.

Trillanes did not attend the hearing but was represented by his lawyer. He is given until November 22, 1:30 p.m. to file his rejoinder-affidavit.

Aside from this complaint, Trillanes is facing a libel complaint filed by the President’s son, Paolo Duterte, apart from the efforts to revive the coup d’etat and rebellion charges before two Makati courts.

The Senator’s petition questioning the constitutionality and seeking to stop the implementation of Proclamation 572 is still pending at the Supreme Court.