A MAKATI City judge issued an arrest warrant Monday against Senator Antonio Trillanes IV in connection with the libel complaint filed by suspended Makati Mayor Jejomar Erwin Binay Jr. last year.
Judge Dina Teves of the Regional Trial Court Branch 142 issued the warrant after finding probable cause in the libel case.
Trillanes may post P10,000 bail for the libel case, a clerk of court said.
The senator’s lawyer, Renaldo Robles, said they have not yet received an official copy of the warrant.
“Unfortunately, Senator Trillanes is on official trip abroad attending an international forum. The moment he arrives, he will voluntarily submit himself to the jurisdiction of the honorable court, if so required,” Robles said.
In a separate text message, Trillanes affirmed his readiness to continue his personal crusade to expose what he said were “massive anomalies” in Makati, despite the libel charge against him.
“If the Binay family believes that I can be intimidated and threatened from exposing them, they are badly mistaken. I will do everything I can to make sure that plunderers will not rule this country again,” Trillanes said.
Robles added that he is confident that any attempt to intimidate his client will not succeed.
“In 2003, Senator Trillanes was jailed for exposing anomalies in the government. I believe he is ready to face any consequence, including facing malicious cases and possible imprisonment, just to let the people know the truth regarding the massive corruption in Makati. This is especially true since Senator Trillanes’ exposés about corruption are well within the scope of his mandate and his immunity as senator of the republic,” Robles said.
The case stemmed from the complaint of Binay against the senator who accused two Court of Appeals justices of receiving P50 million to stop the Office of the Ombudsman from carrying out its suspension of the mayor over corruption charges last year.
Trillanes alleged that Binay bribed members of the appellate court’s 6th Division in exchange for favorable action on his petition for a temporary restraining order and a writ of preliminary injuction against the suspension order.
The senator also accused Binay and his family as being “part of a syndicate” that has committed various crimes and irregularities.
“The damaging and ruinous claims spewed out by respondent Trillanes are mere concoctions and fabrications with no other purpose than to malign, discredit, ruin my reputation and besmirch my good name as well as that of my family,” said Binay in his six-page complaint filed with the Makati City Prosecutors Office.
He added Trillanes’ allegations “have no factual basis and were not made in response to duty, but only with obvious intention to injure my reputation as well as those of my family.”
Binay said the acts of Trillanes in connection with the defamatory statements made against him constitute a violation of Article 355 in relation to Article 353 of the Revised Penal Code.
In a statement, the Court of Appeals 6th Division denied Trillanes’ allegations and warned the senator against making baseless accusations that were tantamount to harassment.
Binay’s father, Vice President Jejomar Binay, also lambasted Trillanes for making false and malicious allegations.
Quoting unnamed sources, Trillanes said lawyer Arthur Villaraza facilitated the bribe, with Appeals Court Justices Jose Reyes Jr. and Francisco Acosta receiving an initial P20 million each for issuing a TRO against the Office of the Ombudsman.
He added when the Office of the Ombudsman and the Department of Interior and Local Government did not heed the TRO, Reyes and Acosta were given P5 million each to issue a writ of preliminary injunction.
Villaraza also denied his involvement and challenged the senator to show proof to support his allegations.
The writ of preliminary injunction prevented the Ombudsman, the DILG and their agents from enforcing the March 10, 2015 six-month preventive suspension of Mayor Binay.
The Ombudsman came up with the suspension order against Binay and other city government officials in connection with the alleged overpriced Makati City Hall Building II, which is also the subject of a Senate investigation.
Acosta was among the two other members of the Sixth Division who concurred with Reyes’ decision. The other member is Justice Eduardo Peralta Jr.
The controversy on the alleged overpriced building started when a number of Makati officials, including Binay, were asked to attend the Senate hearing to shed light on the anomaly.
The irregularities includes the city government’s failure to conduct a public bidding when it awarded the P11.9 million contract for the design and architectural services to MANA Architecture, and the lack of detailed engineering plan for the project.
The construction of Makati City Hall Building II started in 2007 while the elder Binay was city mayor. It continued until 2013 under the incumbent mayor. With Macon Ramos-Araneta