By Vanne Elaine Terrazola
Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV will prevent his arrest from the libel charges filed against him by former Davao City Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte as he plans to post bail on Monday, December 10.
In a statement sent to reporters Friday night, Trillanes invoked his immunity as a legislator from being arrested over cases with minor penalties.
“Under Article VI, Section 11 of the Constitution, as a member of Congress, I am privileged from being arrested in cases punishable by less than six years imprisonment while Congress is in session,” the opposition senator said, citing his lawyers’ advice.
He also cited that the service of warrants of arrest for minor cases like libel is prohibited Fridays, weekends and holidays according to a circular from the Department of Justice.
On Friday afternoon, the Davao City Regional Trial Court ordered the arrest of Trillanes for the libel raps filed by Duterte, whom he tagged in the alleged smuggling of billions-worth of shabu and extortion from ride-sharing company Uber in Cebu City, among others.
The Davao RTC had allowed Trillanes to post bail of at least P24,000 for his release.
The staunch critic of the Duterte family said he was ready to turn himself in to authorities and was initially planning to coordinate with National Capital Region Police Office chief Director Guillermo Eleazar on the service of the warrant.
“So, instead of turning myself in, which is apparently not possible under the circumstances, I will just post bail before the appropriate court on Monday,” Trillanes said.
The opposition lawmaker slammed the Davao City court’s move as he related the order on the acquittal of former Sen. Ramon “Bong” Revilla from plunder charges on the same day.
“Baliktad ang hustisya sa gobyerno ni Duterte. Ang mga mandarambong ay pinalaya na. Ang mga kritiko naman ay gagawan ng kaso para pilit na maikulong,” Trillanes said.