Trillanes arrest sought for leaving PH pending court approval


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MANILA — Government lawyers asked the Davao City Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 54 trying Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV on four counts of libel to order the lawmaker’s arrest and cancellation of his bail for jumping the gun on the court’s permission on his travel abroad last month.

In a motion dated Jan. 10, Davao City Assistant City Prosecutor Joseph B. Mamburan cited the motion of the lawyers of former Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte which claimed that Trillanes left the country on Dec. 11, 2018, a day after posting bail before the Pasay court and before the Davao court could actually rule to allow him to travel.

Trillanes flew out of Philippine jurisdiction without waiting for prior leave or permission from the Davao court, the prosecution’s motion argued.

“Having departed for abroad without (waiting for) court permission, accused is guilty of flight. He has stepped out of Philippine jurisdiction, hence beyond its reach,” Duterte’s counsel, lawyer Rainier L. Madrid said.

The former Davao vice mayor’s camp added that the Trillanes’ departure for abroad without seeking this court’s prior permission is a serious and material breach of his bail and temporary liberty, noting that Trillanes himself “repudiated his own bail”.

“Bail does not grant absolute freedom and liberty. It merely suspends the efficacy of the arrest warrant. It does not relieve the accused from his duties to this court, let alone, give him absolute and complete freedom. Restriction on his right to travel abroad is implied. It is a necessary consequence and impact of his bail,” Madrid added.

The Davao City RTC earlier turned down prosecutors’ request for the issuance of a hold departure order (HDO) against Senator Antonio Trillanes which he said is not a flight risk.

Judge Melinda Alconcel-Dayanghirang also noted that Trillanes’ travels were allowed by Senate President Vicente Sotto III.

“While it is true that the accused has already left the country on December 11, 2018 and thus beyond the reach of this Court, however, the said travel is supported by Travel Order 2018-SR-090 (PS-OIRP) dated October 8, 2018 issued by Senate President Vicente Sotto III. The accused’s succeeding travel on January 27 to February 10, 2019 is likewise with authority of the Senate President,” the magistrate said.

The court explained that from its viewpoint, the trips or speaking engagements abroad “cannot be equated to flight or the voluntary withdrawal by the accused in order to avoid continuance of the criminal proceedings”. (PNABy Benjamin Pulta


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