Court junks sedition raps vs Trillanes et al.
A Quezon City court junked the conspiracy to commit sedition charges against former Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV and other coaccused over an alleged ouster plot against former President Rodrigo Duterte in 2019. Quezon City Metropolitan Trial Court Branch 138 granted the demurrers to evidence separately filed by Trillanes, Peter Joemel “Bikoy” Advincula, Jonnel Sangalang, Yolanda Villanueva Ong, Fr. Flaviano Villanueva, Fr. Albert Alejo, Vicente Romano III and Ronnil Carlo Enriquez.
“The Court finds that the prosecution failed to present competent or sufficient evidence to sustain the indictment or support a verdict of guilt against all accused,” read the resolution penned by Judge Kristine Grace Suarez.
The court said that the witnesses “consistently admitted” throughout cross-examinations that they had no firsthand knowledge of the allegations made by the state’s prosecution against the accused.
The prosecution’s key witness, Bikoy, was not presented before the court “to testify as to the veracity, truthfulness and accuracy” of his testimony.
“This is fatal to the case of the prosecution. The essential witness with personal knowledge of the entire incident was demonstrably not presented in Court to substantiate the very basis of the instant criminal action filed,” the court said.
Last May, a Manila court found Bikoy guilty of perjury in a case filed against him by lawyers Chel Diokno, Erin Tañada and Theodore Te who were also accused by the former of an ouster plot against Duterte. —ABBY BOISER