DAVAO CITY, Philippines — Senator Antonio Trillanes IV, on Monday, told Presidential son Paolo Duterte and Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte’s husband, Atty. Maneses Carpio to better be ready in also facing “challenges”, as he pleaded not guilty, on Tuesday, to the four libel cases lodged against him by the two in a local court here.
Trillanes flew to Davao and appeared in the arraignment of the four libel charges separately filed, by former Vice Mayor Duterte and Atty. Carpio . Trillanes also linked them to the alleged P6.4 billion shabu smuggling in Customs, as well as extortion activities from ride-sharing companies like Uber.
“These are all harassment cases just to inconvenience and distract me. But will not be distracted. I will continue with my mandate as a member of the opposition,” Trillanes told the reporters.
“We are here in Davao to face this, to show that we will not run or turn our back from these challenges,” he said in the vernacular.
Trillanes said he choose not to defer the scheduled arraignment here “to demonstrate that we are recognizing the authority and jurisdiction of the Davao courts.”
He added he’ll be back in Davao to attend for the trial if his schedule permits.
On December last year, the lawmaker posted bail of PhP 96,000—or PhP 24,000 for each of the four libel cases, after Judge Melinda Alconcel-Dayanghirang of Davao City Regional Trial Court Branch 54 issued a warrant of arrest against him.
To recall, Trillanes was declared persona non grata after he claimed Davao as the most dangerous city in the Philippines.
Meanwhile, the former Davao Vice Mayor, in his Facebook page, “welcomed” the vocal critic of Duterte administration in the family’s bailiwick.
Duterte called Trillanes “pathological liar” and said that his “incredible lies” are finally catching up with him.
For Atty. Rainier Madrid, legal counsel of Duterte and Carpio, the case of libel can be mediated, thus the court set a tentative schedule for mediation on March 21, should it suspend the proceedings because of the pending DOJ petition for review filed by Trillanes.
Madrid raised the possibility of a public apology from Trillanes during the mediation, but said, it would still be up to the parties.
“It all depends on the parties involved. If Senator Trillanes will humble himself, probably apologize, you’ll never know. So that is the object of mediation. And of course, if the complainants, my clients, will agree. We don’t know how it can be resolved,” he said. (davaotoday.com)