By Vanne Elaine Terrazola
Senator Antonio Trillanes IV dismissed as “totally baseless” the move of former Davao City Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte to cancel his bail for his supposed attempt to flee the country amid his libel charges.
Trillanes made the remark as he maintained on Thursday that his camp had informed Davao City Regional Trial Court Branch 54 about his trips abroad, and that the court had allowed him.
The Davao City Prosecutors’ Office granted Duterte’s motion seeking the cancellation of Trillanes’ bail as they said the latter was “evidently guilty of flight” when he left the country for Europe last December 11 without the Davao RTC Branch 54’s permission.
The prosecutor argued that due to the issuance of an arrest warrant against Trillanes, and his posting of bail, the lawmaker “was automatically barred from going abroad” and thus needs the court’s explicit permission.
In asking the cancellation of Trillanes’ bail, Duterte wants the Davao City RTC Branch 54 to order anew the arrest of the lawmaker.
But Trillanes recalled attending his arraignment at the Davao City RTC last Tuesday, January 15, when the issue over his travels was supposedly discussed.
He said Branch 54 Presiding Judge Melinda Alconcel Dayanghirang affirmed that the court was notified of his trips on December 10, a day before his departure.
“So mali na agad ang basis ng motion…nagpaalam ako at tinanggap ‘yan ng judge. Hindi totoo ang basis. Tapos another basis ng motion baka tatakas daw ako. Eh, bumalik na nga at nagpaarraign na nga ako, kaya totally baseless, gaya nong libel case na finile nila,” Trillanes told reporters.
(So the basis of the motion was wrong, I sought the Judge’s permission and she accepted it. The basis was false. Another basis of the motion was that I would supposedly escape from the cases. But see, I returned to the country and even personally appeared at my arraignment, so the motion was totally baseless, like the libel cases that they have filed.)
Trillanes added that his trips should have been an issue in his January 15 arraignment if the court had rejected it.
He maintained that he “did not violate anything” especially since no hold departure orders (HDOs) were issued against him to stop him from leaving the country.
Before Duterte’s motion, the Davao City RTC Branch 54, in an order dated December 12, already denied the Department of Justice’s request to issue a hold departure order (HDO) against Trillanes.
Dayanghirang, in the decision, said Trillanes “is not flight-risk.”