By Catherine S Valente/Manila Times
Senator Antonio Trillanes is facing yet another complaint, this time of sedition.
Labour Undersecretary Jacinto Paras filed a case of inciting to sedition or inciting to coup d’etat against Trillanes, who is still under Senate custody over an amnesty row with the Duterte administration.
In his complaint that he filed before the Pasay City Prosecutor’s Office on Friday, Paras cited Trillanes’ seditious remarks against President Rodrigo Duterte and the current administration during his recent interviews at the Senate.
“He maligned the president by calling him insane, murderer, stupid, corrupt, incompetent thereby encouraging the soldiers to lose trust and withdraw support to their Commander-in-Chief, who is the president and by doing this, Trillanes will be able to lead in the murder of the president and overthrow his government,” he said in an interview.
Paras argued that Trillanes’ statements against Duterte could not be covered under freedom of expression, citing “The People of the Philippine Islands vs Isaac Perez, GR No L 21049, December 22, 1923, the Supreme Court.”
“Criticism, no matter how severe, on the Executive, the legislature and the judiciary is within the range of liberty of speech, unless the intention and effect be seditious,” the complaint read.
“Trillanes’ intemperate use of profane, foul, vile, seditious words or language, and resort to scurrilous libels against the president or the government, his ardent call on the military and the police to disobey the order of the latter, as well as his stealthy proposal to the Armed Forces to launch a coup… constitute the crimes of inciting to sedition and proposal to commit coup d’etat,” it said.
Under the country’s Revised Penal Code, inciting to sedition refers to a crime committed by someone who “incites others to the accomplishment of any of the acts which constitute sedition, by means of speeches, proclamations, writings, emblems, cartoons, banners or other representations tending to the same end.”
The charge can also cover those who “utter seditious words or speeches, write, publish or circulate scurrilous libel against the Republic of the Philippines or any of the duly constituted authorities thereof, or which tend to disturb or obstruct any lawful officer in executing the functions of his office, or which tend to instigate others to cabal and meet together for unlawful purposes, or which suggest or incite people against the lawful authorities or to disturb the peace of the community, the safety and order of the government.”
The sedition case is the latest among the opposition senator’s legal woes, which include the withdrawal of his amnesty and a libel case.
Duterte’s Proclamation 572, dated August 31, 2018, said the amnesty granted to Trillanes was null and void from the beginning.
Paras, a former lawmaker, previously said the charges stemmed from Trillanes’ alleged efforts to prod soldiers to rebel against Duterte and for supposedly calling the president “insane.”
Trillanes is facing possible arrest after Duterte voided his amnesty over two failed military uprisings in 2003 and 2007. He has been holed up in his office at the Senate since Tuesday last week.
The president’s son, former Davao City Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte, meanwhile, filed last week a libel case against Trillanes, a year after the senator accused him of corruption.
Trillanes, in 2017, claimed Paolo and brother-in-law Manases Carpio were involved in a scheme to extort money from ride-hailing firms.
Senator Antonio Trillanes: facing new complaint
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