DAVAO CITY, Philippines — Senator Antonio Trillanes IV denied on Thursday the allegation that he offered P1 million to a witness for her to execute a sworn affidavit and testify at the senate and at the International Criminal Court.
In a Facebook live interview posted by Rappler, Trillanes said Guillermina Barrida Arcilla, the witness who surfaced on Wednesday, was the one who approached his team to present her testimony. Trillanes said his team found Arcilla and her testimony to be unbelievable, and thus refrained from presenting her as witness.
“Alam niyo itong tao na ito ay nagparating sa amin ng mensahe na meron daw siyang sasabihin na negatibo tungkol kay Presidente Duterte. So meron kaming proseso ng pagbabackground check, dinaan namin sa ganung proseso. Subalit sabi ng mga nagcheck sa kanya eh kaduda duda ang kanyang mga statements, kaya hindi na namin natuloy, hindi na namin na present”
(This person approached us with the message that she was about to say something negative about President Duterte. So we have this process of doing background checks. But according to those who did the checks, her statements seemed questionable. So we did not proceed in presenting her as witness), Trillanes said.
“Nabalitaan ko na lang later on na siya ay may hiningan ng pera sa ibang grupo. So apparently, ito yung kabuhayan niya” (I just heard later on that she has solicited money from other groups. Apparently, this is her means of livelihood), he added.
During the interview, Trillanes showed reporters a video of Arcilla talking to his staff, implicating Duterte in the illegal drugs business. Trillanes said this video showed Arcilla was not coerced, and that she was not aware that she was being recorded at the time.
“Maliwanag dun sa video na nagsasalaysay siya ng kusa. Tinatanong siya, nagsasalaysay siya” (It’s clear in that video that she was saying her statement without coercion. She was asked questions, she answered them), Trillanes said.
Trillanes urged the media to exercise caution in dealing with Arcilla, saying the media entities might “burn” in the process.
He also asked for a public apology from radio broadcaster Erwin Tulfo, or else he will pursue legal action,
Arcilla surfaced on Wednesday in a press conference claiming that the camps of Trillanes and De Lima had offered her a total of one million pesos to sign a sworn affidavit implicating the president in the illegal drugs business. Arcilla said she would be given P 500,000 for the affidavit and if she appeared before a senate inquiry. Another P 500,000 would follow if she testified before the International Criminal Court.
Read related story: Witness ‘paid’ to execute affidavit vs. Duterte implicates Trillanes, De Lima
Arcilla, who claims to be the niece of city councilor Pilar Braga, said she already received a total of P 300,000 pesos before being offered the one million peso proposal. Arcilla said she was paid to share negative posts in her facebook account, and to publicly speak against the President.
Arcilla also connected to the controversy Jesuit priest Fr. Albert Alejo and self-confessed Davao Death Squad hit man Edgar Matobato’s legal counsel, Atty. Jude Sabio.
She claimed Alejo once left her envelope containing P 20,000 as payment for her “services.” In other instances, her payment would be folded among tissue papers in restaurants where she, Alejo and Sabio would meet.
Arcilla said it was Alejo who drafted the affidavit that had to undergo 15 revisions before it was finally approved by Trillanes.
Meanwhile, Braga has denied any familial connection with Arcilla. Braga denied tha Arcilla was ever part of her close circle.
In a report by Tempo, Braga said Arcilla approached her some three years back and introduced herself as her niece.
“She seemed nice as she told me stories of how she is helping poor people and so she asked my help how to help her friend who had cancer or something. I told her to go to City Hall to avail of Lingap,” Braga said.(davaotoday.com)