MANILA, Philippines – Senator Antonio Trillanes IV said the libel case filed by former Davao City vice mayor Paolo Duterte, son of President Rodrigo Duterte, is clearly meant to harass him.
"Mukhang pinapaspasan nila itong libel case na 'to. It's very, very obvious na naghahanap ng paraan to shake me down, to harass me. Pero haharapin natin 'yan," Trillanes told reporters in a media briefing on Tuesday, September 18.
(It seems that they're rushing this libel case. It's very, very obvious that they're only looking for ways to shake me down, to harass me. But I'll face that.)
Trillanes said they received a copy of the subpoena, dated September 10, only on Monday, September 17. A counter-affidavit must be submitted within 10 days from receipt.
It was on September 6 – or 4 days before the subpoena was issued – that Paolo Duterte and his brother-in-law Manases Carpio filed separate libel complaints against Trillanes with the Office of the City Prosecutor in Davao City. (READ: LIST: Cases, complaints filed vs Trillanes under Duterte administration)
Trillanes supposedly accused them, in a radio interview, of "conniving" with Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board Regional Director Ahmed Cuison to demand a "percentage" of money before approving the franchise of ride-hailing firm Uber, back when it was still operating in the Philippines.
But the senator said he can't even remember the radio interview that Paolo Duterte and Carpio are citing. Paolo Duterte was still the Davao City vice mayor when Trillanes supposedly made the allegation.
"For some reason, chinarge niya ako sa isang interview sa Cebu na hindi ko nga maalala kung anuman 'yun. Hindi tungkol sa links niya sa ilegal na droga. 'Di ba mas mabigat 'yun? Pero hindi niya ko do'n kinasuhan," the senator said.
(For some reason, he charged me for an interview in Cebu that I can't even recall. The complaint isn't about his links with illegal drugs. Isn't that more grave? But he didn't file a case against me over that.)
Trillanes alleged that the younger Duterte only wants him in Davao City, claiming that judges there "receive special allowances" from the city government. The President's daughter and Carpio's wife, Sara Duterte Carpio, is the Davao City mayor.
"Very obvious ang gusto nilang gawin. Dadalhin nila sa teritoryo nila, mag-iimpluwensya sila. At alam 'nyo, 'yung mga judges diyan sa Davao City, eh nakaka-receive sila ng special allowances from the city government. Eh 'yung kapatid ang mayor, so maliwanag na makakaimpluwensya 'yun," Trillanes said.
(What they want to do is very obvious. They want to bring me to their territory so they would have influence. And you know, the judges in Davao City receive special allowances from the city government. The mayor is Paolo's sister, so it's clear that there is influence there.)
Even with the threat of arrest due to his amnesty revocation, Trillanes said he will appear before the Davao City prosecutor if needed.