MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Former senator and key opposition figure Antonio Trillanes IV on Tuesday morning, February 18, returned to the country after some speaking engagements abroad and posted bail for one count of conspiracy to commit sedition before the Quezon City Metropolitan Trial Court (MeTC) Branch 138.
After he arrived at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) at around 8 am, Trillanes headed directly to the QC Halls of Justice to post P10,000 bail.
No police mobile vehicles were spotted around NAIA when Trillanes’ plane landed, affording the fierce critic of President Rodrigo Duterte a peaceful homecoming.
Trillanes avoided an airport arrest because his warrant was not forwarded to the Bureau of Immigration (BI) in time for his arrival. If the warrant had been forwarded to the BI then, the agency would have held Trillanes at the airport and waited for law enforcement to serve the warrant.
“Upon verification, no warrant was received by our office to date. Immigration personnel for prudence, likewise verified with PNP last night, wala rin pong natatanggap na copy of the warrant,” said BI Spokesperson Dana Sandoval.
Trillanes was abroad for engagements in the US and Europe when MeTC Branch 138 issued the warrant for the arrest of the former lawmaker and 10 others over the viral Bikoy “Ang Totoong Narcolist (The True Narcolist)” videos on Thursday, February 13. The videos alleged that Duterte and his family were involved in the illegal drug trade.
Trillanes’ lawyer Rey Robles was waiting for him at the airport.
An arrest at the airport cannot be ruled out because last year, a warrant of arrest was issued against Rappler CEO Maria Ressa while the journalist was abroad, over the alleged violation of the anti-dummy law. She was arrested upon deplaning, even though the charge was bailable.
Trillanes himself survived an arrest threat in late 2018, when he had to hole up in his Senate office for days to avoid a military arrest. This was for a revived rebellion charge after Duterte issued Proclamation No. 572, moving to revoke the amnesty granted to the senator in connection to the 2003 Oakwood mutiny and the 2007 Manila Peninsula siege. (READ: From posh hotels to the Senate: The 3 times Senator Trillanes was arrested)
The Department of Justice (DOJ) had charged Trillanes and 10 others, including 2 priests, of conspiracy to commit sedition over the Bikoy videos.
Peter Joemel Advincula alias Bikoy, who was also charged, posted bail on Monday, February 17.
The DOJ alleged that Trillanes and the other respondents conspired to commit sedition through the Bikoy videos, and the explosive revelation of former police official Eduardo Acierto that President Rodrigo Duterte’s economic adviser Michael Yang has links to the drug trade.
Acierto is in hiding.
The DOJ said it found basis that the group had a plan intended to “topple” the Duterte administration.
Trillanes also faces 2 separate inciting to sedition cases before the Pasay court, all related to remarks and speeches made against Duterte.
Trillanes previously posted bail 4 times before Davao courts over libel cases filed against him by Davao City Representative and presidential son Paolo Duterte. – Rappler.com