Government lawyers have asked the Davao City Regional Trial Court Branch 54 trying Senator Antonio Trillanes IV on four counts of libel to order the lawmaker’s arrest and cancellation of his bail for jumping the gun on the court’s permission on his travel abroad last month.
In a motion dated Jan. 10, Davao City Assistant City Prosecutor Joseph B. Mamburan cited the motion of the lawyers of former Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte which claimed that Trillanes left the country on Dec. 11, 2018, a day after posting bail before the Pasay court and before the Davao court could actually rule to allow him to travel.
Trillanes flew out of Philippine jurisdiction without waiting for prior leave or permission from the Davao court, the prosecution’s motion argued.
“Having departed for abroad without [waiting for] court permission, accused is guilty of flight. He has stepped out of Philippine jurisdiction, hence beyond its reach,” Duterte’s counsel, lawyer Rainier Madrid said.
The former Davao vice mayor’s camp added that the Trillanes’ departure for abroad without seeking the court’s prior permission is a serious and material breach of his bail and temporary liberty, noting that Trillanes himself “repudiated his own bail.”
“Bail does not grant absolute freedom and liberty. It merely suspends the efficacy of the arrest warrant. It does not relieve the accused from his duties to this court, let alone, give him absolute and complete freedom. Restriction on his right to travel abroad is implied. It is a necessary consequence and impact of his bail,” Madrid added.
The Davao City RTC earlier turned down prosecutors’ request for the issuance of a hold departure order against Trillanes which he said is not a flight risk.
Judge Melinda Alconcel-Dayanghirang also noted that Trillanes’ travels were allowed by Senate President Vicente Sotto III.
“While it is true that the accused has already left the country on December 11, 2018 and thus beyond the reach of this Court, however, the said travel is supported by Travel Order 2018-SR-090 (PS-OIRP) dated October 8, 2018 issued by Senate President Vicente Sotto III. The accused’s succeeding travel on January 27 to February 10, 2019 is likewise with authority of the Senate President,” the magistrate said.
The court explained that from its viewpoint, the trips or speaking engagements abroad “cannot be equated to flight or the voluntary withdrawal by the accused in order to avoid continuance of the criminal proceedings.”
Meanwhile, Malacañang denied Trillanes’ claim that there are threats to his life, describing the senator’s claim as “just a figment of his imagination.”
Trillanes had admitted that he had asked the Comelec for a gun ban exemption during the election period, saying the Philippines is no longer a safe place under President Rodrigo Duterte.
Trillanes said he has received information that the President wants him killed.
But presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo scoffed at Trillanes’ claim.
“Guni-guni niya lang iyon. He’s being ignored nga eh. Hindi nga siya pinapansin eh. Diba. He’s an illusionist. I’m no longer surprised,” Panelo said in a statement.
The election gun ban started last January 13 and will end on June 12.
Trillanes, a fierce critic of the President, said that the various cases lodged against him, ranging from libel to rebellion, were politically motivated.
The senator was referring to Duterte’s proclamation dated August 31, which o voided the amnesty granted by former President Benigno Aquino III to Trillanes for his alleged failure to file an application form and admit guilt for his crime.