Court denies Trillanes bid to defer libel proceedings
The Makati Regional Trial Court on Friday denied Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV’s motion to defer the implementation of a warrant of arrest issued against him in connection with a libel case filed by dismissed Makati Mayor Junjun Binay.
Binay’s lawyer Claro Certeza told reporters that Judge Dina Teves of Makati Regional Trial Court Branch 142 also denied Trillanes’ request to defer court proceedings contained in the same motion.
Binay filed the charges in April last year after the senator “publicly and maliciously” accused him of bribery, graft, corruption and plunder during media interviews and in published articles on the alleged overpriced construction of the Makati City Hall Building II.
“The judge told [Trillanes’ lawyer] that as soon as Senator Trillanes comes back, make him appear before me, post a bond and then I will lift the warrant of arrest,” said Certeza, who attended the 8:30 a.m. hearing on the case.
Certeza said Teves ordered a P10,000 bail for the senator, who is out of the country.
Trillanes’ camp said the senator could still file a petition for review in the Department of Justice, which means court proceedings should be suspended so the senator’s actions would not be preempted.
But Certeza countered that there was “nothing to decide in so far as a motion filed by the accused” was concerned.
“[Trillanes] has not yet presented himself to the jurisdiction of the court. He is still outside the country. The court has not acquired jurisdiction [over him],” Certeza said.
He said the court can only make that decision in a criminal case if the accused posts bail.
“You have yourself arrested, then the court has jurisdiction over you,” he said.
Certeza also argued that under the rules, once an information is filed in court, it is the court that has the “exclusive authority to determine whether or not it will proceed with the hearing.”
The judge said that while the court could defer proceedings if a petition for review was filed, it could only do so for 60 days, Certeza said.
“But there is still no petition for review [filed],” Certeza said.
As for the warrant of arrest, the judge said its implementation could not be stopped even if a petition for review were filed, Certeza said.
“Technically, [Trillanes] has to surrender. After he surrenders, he posts a bail bond, then the warrant of arrest will be recalled,” Certeza said.
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