Paolo Duterte files another libel suit vs Trillanes for drug smuggling tag
Published @ 5:26 p.m., Sept. 19, 2018 | Updated @ 11:17 p.m., Sept. 19, 2018
DAVAO CITY — President Rodrigo Duterte’s son Paolo on Wednesday sued Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV for libel anew, this time for linking him to the smuggling of P6.4 billion worth of “shabu” (crystal meth) from China in May last year.
In his new complaint filed with the City Prosecutors’ Office, the younger Duterte said Trillanes described him and his father as “illegal drug smugglers.”
Worse, he added, the senator also “defamed and labeled” the Dutertes as “principal actors” in the drug trade in Davao City.
“Evidently, it was intended to malign, destroy and kill my good name and reputation, locally, nationally and internationally. This is especially so as I am the eldest son of our sitting President,” Paolo said.
Trillanes did not respond when sought for comment on the latest libel suit.
Among the fiercest critics of the Duterte administration, Trillanes has publicly accused the younger Duterte and his brother-in-law, lawyer Manases Carpio, of involvement in the smuggling of 605 kilograms of high-grade shabu through the Bureau of Customs on May 23 last year.
The authorities recovered the shabu during a raid on a warehouse in Valenzuela City.
When the Senate inquired into the shabu smuggling, the younger Duterte and Carpio denied Trillanes’ allegations.
The two had earlier filed separate libel suits against the senator for accusing them of extorting money from the ride-hailing company Uber and of being involved in corruption during a radio interview in Cebu.
Trillanes’ lawyer Reynaldo Robles vowed to move for the dismissal of the suits, arguing that the Davao prosecutors’ office lacked jurisdiction since the radio interview took place in Cebu, and the witnesses were from Cebu.
A criminal case can only be filed in the place where the elements of the offense took place, he said.
“Apparently, they want to have a homecourt advantage in Davao. It should not be allowed,” Robles told reporters.
The current Davao City mayor is Sara Duterte, Paolo’s sister and Carpio’s wife.
Robles also said that the Davao City council’s declaration of Trillanes as persona non grata had a bearing on the suits.
“It has some bearing in a sense that how do you require a person declared persona non grata – which means they don’t want him to go there – to go to the city,” he said.
Duterte and Carpio also failed to prove Trillanes’ malice, Robles said.
As a senator, it was Trillanes’ duty to fiscalize and point out what he believes is wrongdoing, the lawyer added. /lb /pdi
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