DOJ chief to stay out of libel case vs Trillanes
Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra vowed on Saturday not to interfere in the libel suits filed against Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV by the son and son-in-law of President Rodrigo Duterte.
“It is not proper,” said Guevarra, who is enforcing Mr. Duterte’s proclamation nullifying Trillanes’ amnesty and seeking the revival of the coup d’etat and rebellion charges against the senator.
Guevarra also said the nullification of Trillanes’ amnesty had nothing to do with the libel suit filed against the senator by former Davao City Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte and lawyer Manases Carpio, husband of Mayor Sara Duterte.
“The timing of the filing of the libel complaints against Senator Trillanes, according to the complainants, had nothing to do with the nullification of [his] amnesty,” Guevarra said.
“The libel complaints were filed on the anniversary of the utterance of the allegedly defamatory statements,” Guevarra said.
The complaints, received by the prosecutor’s office on Sept. 6, cited a radio interview on Sep. 8, 2017, during which Trillanes accused Paolo Duterte and Carpio of extorting money from the transportation network firm Uber and other companies.
Trillanes, in the same radio interview, also accused the brothers-in-law of dipping their hands into funds of the Road Board and projects of the Department of Public Works and Highways.
But Paolo and Carpio said Trillanes’ claims were only the senator’s fabrications.
In his complaint, Carpio said Trillanes’ target in maligning him and Paolo was clearly the chief executive “especially so as my wife is the daughter of the sitting President.”
Paolo said Trillanes could not claim legislative immunity because the senator’s “false imputation” was not one of the acts of a legislator exempted from criminal liability by the Revised Penal Code.
“First, it was not a private communication in the performance of any legal, moral or social duty,” said Paolo’s complaint.
“Second, it was not a fair and true report,” it added. —With a report from Germelina Lacorte
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