MANILA (Mabuhay) — Senator Antonio Trillanes on Wednesday failed to both attend a preliminary investigation and submit a counter-affidavit on a libel complaint filed against him by suspended Makati Mayor Jejomar “Junjun” Binay.
The lawmaker’s legal counsel Judy Ann Bautista said his client was unable to attend due to a previous commitment in Quezon province.
Bautista, however, assured handling prosecutor Gilmarie Fe Pacamara that the lawmaker would appear before the DOJ on the second day of the PI set for Thursday next week.
Bautista also revealed their camp had actually already prepared a draft counter-affidavit that only awaits Trillanes’ go signal to be submitted.
Yeah, yeah, actually we are ready; we brought the draft of the counter-affidavit po, subject to the review of Senator Trillanes. It is already done; it is already prepared. Kailangan lang po yung consent.
During the PI, the Binay camp informed the handling prosecutor that it still has a pending motion asking that the complaint be returned to Makati.
The libel complaint was earlier transfered from Makati to the DOJ in Manila after Trillanes’ camp filed a motion seeking the Makati prosecutor’s office inhibition.
“We believe kapag nandito po (sa DOJ), magkakaroon ng neutral at impartial decision ang DOJ,” Bautista said.
“It’s not that we are questioning the Makati City Prosecutor’s Office, but since it is located in Makati and we believe that the complainant is a mayor of Makati, we believe na makakakuha kami ng mas magandang favorable decision if it is transfered here in DOJ po,” she added.
Bautista said the Trillanes camp would be formally opposing Binay’s motion for reconsideration at the Makati Prosecutor’s Office.
The libel complaint was filed against Trillanes for having “publicly and maliciously” accused the mayor and his family of bribery and other crimes of irregularities “without factual basis.”
The complaint cited, in particular, an April 7 interview with Trillanes “aired… over several radio and television programs” and quoted in a report on the Philippine Daily Inquirer, where the senator “publicly claimed” that Binay bribed the members of the 6th Division of the Court of Appeals “by paying them millions of pesos in exchange for favorable action” on the temporary restraining order against his suspension order.
In his complaint-affidavit, Binay said it was evident from the interview that Trillanes granted last April 7, and the subsequent Philippine Daily Inquirer article that the senator made the statements “despite the utter lack of evidence.” (MNS)