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LIBEL CASE FILED BY DUTERTE SON

Davao court issues warrant of arrest vs Trillanes

/ 07:16 AM December 08, 2018

Senator Antonio Trillanes. AFP PHOTO / TED ALJIBE

DAVAO CITY—The Regional Trial Court (RTC) here has issued an arrest warrant against Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV for a libel case he is facing.

Presiding Judge Melinda Alconcel-Dayanghirang on Friday ordered law enforcers to arrest Trillanes within 10 days.

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Former Davao City Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte, eldest son of President Duterte, and Paolo’s brother-in-law Manases Carpio had earlier filed separate libel cases against the senator for accusing them of extorting money from the ride-hailing company Uber in a broadcast interview in Cebu and of corruption.

Paolo also filed another libel case against the senator for accusing him of involvement in the smuggling of P6.4 billion worth of “shabu” (crystal meth) from China that slipped past the Bureau of Customs in May last year.

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Defamation, libel

In his second case against Trillanes, Paolo said the senator “defamed and labeled” the Dutertes, by calling them the “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.

In her order, Dayanghirang said Trillanes could gain temporary liberty by posting a P24,000 bail bond.

“The head office to whom this warrant of arrest has been delivered for execution shall cause the warrant to be executed within 10 days upon receipt,” Dayanghirang’s order said.

But Trillanes on Friday refused to turn himself in, invoking his constitutional privilege from arrest as a lawmaker facing an offense punishable by less than six years in prison with Congress still in session.

He also cited a Department of Justice regulation prohibiting the serving of arrest warrants for libel and other minor cases on Fridays, weekends and holidays.

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Paolo, who is running for the  Davao City seat in the House of Representatives in next year’s midterm elections, earlier said he was not seeking vengeance against Trillanes but merely wanted justice.

Respondent’s rights

Trillanes said he was ready to face charges but wished to defend his rights as a respondent.

“So, instead of turning myself in, which is apparently not possible under the circumstances, I will just post bail before the appropriate court on Monday,” he said in a statement.

“Regardless, I will face this. I was planning to coordinate with [National Capital Region Police Office] chief Director [Guillermo] Eleazar once the warrant is available, so that I could turn myself in voluntarily,” he said.

He denounced the President for the issuance of the arrest warrant.

“Justice is reversed in the government of Duterte. Thieves have been freed. Cases are invented against critics to forcefully detain them,” he said. —REPORTS FROM  GERMELINA LACORTE AND DJ YAP

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