(Eagle News) – Senator Antonio Trillanes IV was indicted anew, this time, for inciting to sedition raps because of his remarks over President Rodrigo Duterte’s issuance of a proclamation voiding his earlier amnesty.
Assistant City Prosecutor Reynaldo Ticyado from the Pasay City Prosecutor’s Office, in a resolution dated Jan. 29, 2019, said there was probable cause to file sedition charges against Trillanes.
The resolution which was recently released said that the evidence against the opposition senator was “sufficient to establish the existence of probable cause.”
The prosecutor, however, dismissed a complaint for proposal to commit coup d’etat against the senator.
Ticyado said that in media interviews granted by Trillanes, his words “were intended to instill in the minds of the people a feeling of hatred and distrust towards the President of the Philippines, the Government and its duly constituted authorities.”
Labor Undersecretary Jing Paras and Presidential Anti-Corruption Commissioner Manuelito Luna filed the complaint before the Pasay City Prosecutor’s Office saying Trillanes should be charged over his “incendiary and hateful speeches against President Duterte after issuance of Proclamation 572 that voided the amnesty granted to him during the previous administration.”
Trillanes allegedly urged the military to take up arms against the Duterte government, and at the same made allegations of corruption against the president.
-Trillanes claims parliamentary immunity –
In his counter-affidavit, Trillanes said he made the statements in interviews to media in his capacity as a lawmaker and therefore was covered by parliamentary immunity.
“As one of the Senators of the Republic respondents believes in good faith that it is part of his public duties to report to the people, through the media and to keep the public updated on the relevant issues of graft and corruption,” he said.
He also claimed that the complainants lacked personal knowledge of the factual allegations in their complaint. He said that they merely attached printouts of news articles in their complaint.
But the Pasay City prosecutor said that Trillanes cannot claim parliamentary immunity in this case as this was not applicable to statements that “relate to the presidential proclamation revoking the previous grant of amnesty to him and therefore not made while the Senate was in session and in connection with the discharge of his official duties as a senator.”
Article 142 of the Revised Penal Code states “the penalty of prision correctional in its maximum period and a fine not exceeding 2,000 pesos shall be imposed upon any person who, without taking any direct part in the crime of sedition, should incite others to the accomplishment of any of the acts which constitute sedition, by means of speeches, proclamations, writings, emblems, cartoons, banners, or other representations tending to the same end, or upon any person or persons who shall utter seditious words or speeches, write, publish, or circulate scurrilous libels against the Republic of the Philippines or any of the duly constituted authorities thereof.”
Such statements also “tend to disturb or obstruct any lawful officer in executing the functions of his office, or which tend to instigate others to cabal and meet together for unlawful purposes, or which suggest or incite people against the lawful authorities or to disturb the peace of the community, the safety and order of the Government, or who shall knowingly conceal such evil practices,” according to Article 142.