SEN. Antonio Trillanes IV cannot invoke parliamentary immunity in connection with the libel complaint filed by Makati Mayor Jejomar Erwin “Junjun” Binay against him because his claims of bribery of justices were made outside the Senate, the mayor’s lawyer said yesterday. “Mister Trillanes cannot cower behind the doctrine of parliamentary immunity. His malicious and scurrilous accusations regarding the fictitious bribery charges against Mayor Binay were made in public, outside the halls of the Senate,” said lawyer Claro Certeza.
Certeza issued the statement after former UP dean Pacifico Agabin told radio dzMM that Trillanes’ statements are covered by parliamentary immunity because these are related to a resolution he filed last Monday. Trillanes made the allegations in radio and TV interviews last week.
Trillanes yesterday reiterated the libel complaint does not faze him.
“Alam nila na you can’t do that to a senator kasi kami nga ‘yan ang trabaho – pag me anomalya we expose it. Kung me ganyang naka-dangle sa ulo namin eh ‘di wala nang magsasalita about these issues at wala nang mag-e-expose ng anomalya. Hindi ko i-indahin ‘yan, tuloy-tuloy lang tayo,” he said.
Last Monday, Trillanes filed a resolution asking the Senate to conduct an inquiry into the alleged bribery involving two of the three members of the 6th Division of the Court of Appeals.
Citing “reliable sources,” Trillanes said Associate Justices Jose Reyes Jr. and Francisco Acosta received P25 million each for issuing a temporary restraining order against the Ombudsman’s six-month suspension order against Binay, and a writ of preliminary injunction. He also said a lawyer “by the name of Pancho Villaraza facilitated the transaction.
The justices and Villaraza have belied Trillanes’ claims. Committee chair Sen. Aquilino Pimentel has said his panel will take up matter when session resumes next month.
Asked if the Senate could summon the justices, who are members of a coequal branch of government, Trillanes said, “Why not? Kung ako nga nag-a-appear sa mga RTC, bakit sila hindi?” He said he was prompted to file the resolution to investigate the justices for the alleged pay-off after the judiciary failed to act on the reports.
“Alam natin na nangyayari yan for years. Pero may ginawa ba (ang judiciary)? he said, adding that this investigation would hopefully help the Supreme Court to address the issue.
“This is the opportunity to address the issue na di maitatago (sa publiko),” he said, referring to live telecast of Senate investigations.
Trillanes maintained he has witnesses and documents to prove his allegations and that he would submit these to the Supreme Court if needed.
MORE `BOMBSHELLS’ Trillanes said he is ready to drop two more “bombshells” today against Vice President Jejomar Binay when the Senate Blue Ribbon sub-committee resumes its investigation on the alleged corrupt practices of the Vice President.
“We plan to present two new issues, two new explosive issues on Thursday para makarami kami kasi ang daming anomalya,” Trillanes said.
“‘Yung dalawang bagong issue will be against VP Binay when he was still mayor, pero kasama si Mayor Junjun Binay dahil konsehal siya nun,” he added.
He said he could not give details yet on the two issues “dahil gagapangin na naman. Maganda ‘yung suprise attack na lang.” TRILLANES’ MOTIVE
Rep. Binay said Trillanes is counting on a Liberal PartyNacionalista Party coalition to draft him as the running mate of Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas II, the presumed LP standard- bearer in next year’s polls.
“Senator Trillanes has been desperately trying to sell himself to voters and more importantly, to Roxas. This is why the senator has been leading the charge against the Vice President, who remains the biggest obstruction to Roxas’ own aspiration to become president,” she said. (Evan Orias with JP Lopez and Ashzel Hachero , Malaya)