MANILA, Apr 15 (Mabuhay) – Antonio Trillanes IV said on Wednesday the two Court of Appeals (CA) justices he accused of receiving bribes to stop Makati Mayor Junjun Binay’s suspension should be invited to the Senate’s investigation.
Speaking to reporters, Trillanes said the lawyer who allegedly facilitated the transaction, Pancho Villaraza, should also be summoned to the probe that he is calling for.
“Ipapatawag natin ‘yan. The justices, si Atty. Villaraza, at kung sino pa (We will call on them to attend the probe. The justices, Atty. Villaraza, and others),” he told reporters at a briefing.
Citing “reliable sources”, Trillanes recently accused CA Justices Jose Reyes Jr. and Francisco Acosta of issuing orders to halt Binay’s suspension in exchange for P25 million each, allegedly through Villaraza.
He has filed a resolution seeking a Senate investigation on the matter.
Trillanes refused to say with certainty, however, whether his sources would also be invited to the probe should it push through, and if they would reveal their identities at all.
A possibility is they would be invited only to an executive session, where discussions are kept confidential, he said.
“Ultimately decision nila ‘yon (That’s ultimately their decision),” Trillanes said. “It could change their lives … If you take them out, where will they go?”
Asked whether the justices can be compelled to attend despite the courtesy traditionally extended to members of a co-equal government branch, Trillanes said it would be up to the chairman of the investigating committee.
Because bribery normally does not leave a paper trail, Trillanes said the inquiry would mostly rely on testimonial evidence. But he also plans to present documentary evidence such as previous CA decisions that he believes would illustrate the “absurdity of the ruling process”.
“They can be pinned down on abuse of the law and grave abuse of discretion.”
Trillanes also said he would cooperate and share evidence with the Supreme Court if it launches its own probe into the matter.
The Binay camp has sued Trillanes for libel because of his allegations.
“You can’t do that to a senator,” said Trillanes. “Kung may ganyang naka-dangle sa ulo namin sa mga sasabihin namin, eh ‘di wala nang magsasalita about these issues at wala na tayong ma-e-expose na anomaly (If something like that is dangled upon our heads, no one would speak about these issues and we wouldn’t be able to expose anomalies).”
Still, Trillanes said he is unfazed by the libel charge and is prepared to face it.
“In fact, lalo tayong ginaganahan na habulin itong mga ito. Hindi ako titigil hangga’t hindi makulong itong mga Binay (We are more motivated to run after them. I won’t stop until the Binays end up in jail),” he said.(MNS)