By Marita Moaje

RAPS FILED. Former Senator Antonio Trillanes IV files libel and cyber libel cases against supporters of former President Rodrigo R. Duterte before the Quezon City Prosecutor’s Office on Tuesday (May 14, 2024). Among the respondents are former presidential spokesperson Harry Roque and media network Sonshine Media Network International. (Contributed photo)

MANILA – Former senator Antonio Trillanes IV has filed libel and cyberlibel cases against some supporters of former president Rodrigo R. Duterte before the Quezon City Prosecutor’s Office on Tuesday.

Named as respondents are former presidential spokesperson Harry Roque, broadcast network Sonshine Media Network International (SMNI) and vlogger Byron Cristobal, also known as Banat By.

The decision to pursue legal action came after persistent online attacks and the dissemination of false accusations against him.

In separate complaint affidavits, Trillanes said Roque and Cristobal accused him of “selling” and “giving away” the Scarborough Shoal to China during backchannel talks in 2012.

“Despite my repeated explanations on what transpired during my backchannel talks, including official statements from incumbent government officials during Senate hearings conducted that we did not lose Scarborough, these pro-Duterte personalities continue to harp on this fake news to deflect blame from the Duterte administration,” Trillanes, who lost in his return bid to the Senate in the 2022 elections, said.

Similar charges were filed against a certain Guillermina Barrido and SMNI hosts and executives for publishing an interview in which Barrido repeatedly alleged that Trillanes paid her to be a fake witness against Duterte.

Separate criminal complaints will also be filed before the National Bureau of Investigation against various social media account owners for allegedly spreading disinformation and libelous statements about him, according to the camp of Trillanes. (PNA)