Trillanes on kidnapping suit: This admin will do its worst

Lian Buan

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Trillanes on kidnapping suit: This admin will do its worst
Kidnapping is a non-bailable offense, compared to other cases filed against him since the Duterte presidency

MANILA, Philippines – Key opposition figure Antonio Trillanes IV said on Friday, October 11, that he  expected the Duterte administration “to do its worst” in yet another attempt to put him in jail.

Trillanes attended on Friday the first hearing at the Department of Justice (DOJ) of the kidnapping complaint filed against him by the Philippine National Police Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) for supposedly keeping a woman in a convent to force her to link President Rodrigo Duterte to the drug trade.

Kidnapping is a non-bailable case, compared to other cases filed against him since the Duterte presidency which he had posted bail for, such as libel.

“I am a fatalist, sinabi ko na dito I expect this administration to do its worst. Kung ano man yang nasa harap ko sasalubungin  ko yan,” Trillanes told reporters after the hearing.

(I already said that I expect this administration to do its worst. I will face whatever is put before me.)

Versions of the story

Trilanes on Friday came face to face with his accuser, Davao-based Guillermina Barrido-Arcillas, who claimed that she was approached by individuals linked to the opposition to rant against Duterte, and then convinced by Trillanes and lawyer Jude Sabio to testify against the President before the International Criminal Court (ICC).

In Trillanes’ and Sabio’s versions of event, Arcillas came to them to volunteer information against Duterte, but that she failed their vetting process and seemed like she was motivated only by money.

Arcillas said the first person from the opposition who got in touch with her was London-based Myra Cattaneo.

Cattaneo had earlier told Rappler that Arcillas lied when she said her group sent money to fund rant posts against Duterte. Cattaneo said Arcillas asked for help for livelihood programs for beneficiaries, which was the reason they sent money to her.

At the DOJ, Arcillas insisted on her story: “Meron akong ebidensya ng lahat ng binayad niya sa akin as kapalit sa lahat ng post na inuutos niya sa akin.” (I have evidence that all their payments were for posts that she instructed me to do.)

After the hearing, Arcillas shouted and called Trillanes “hayop! singungaling! (asshole, liar).” But she was reprimanded by the prosecutor who told her to “respect the office.”

Priest and nun

The CIDG included as respondent a certain “Sister Ling” of the “Convent of Cannussian Sisters,” but the said nun could not be summoned as she could not be completely identified. The Makati City Hall also said “Convent of Cannussian Sisters” has no address in its records.

“Dun na lang sa kaalaman natin, kumbento, mga madre ang mangki-kidnap. Ano ba yan, how absurd is that,” Trillanes said. (Let’s just base it on what we know, nuns will kidnap her. What kind of an accusation is that, how absurd.) 

Another co-accused is Jesuit priest Albert Alejo, who is also a respondent in the Bikoy inciting to sedition case for his role in providing shelter to Peter Joemel Advincula. It has been argued that the Church, and priests like Alejo, are expected to provide sanctuary to anyone who needs it, particularly potential witnesses.

Alejo on Friday did not respond to questions on whether he knew Arcillas, but he said he was “saddened” by the case.

Turning emotional, Alejo said, “Kami po ay gumagalaw lang ayon sa udyok ng aming pananampalataya (we act according to our faith.)”

“Nananawagan tayo sa may kapangyarihan, katungkulan na magsuri nang mabuti sa kaso,” said Alejo.

(We are calling on those in power and position, please examine this case carefully.) –

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Lian Buan

Lian Buan is a senior investigative reporter, and minder of Rappler's justice, human rights and crime cluster.