MANILA, Philippines – New revelations by Senator Antonio Trillanes IV about the alleged role of Vice President Jejomar Binay in the 2007 Manila Peninsula caper could land Binay in jail, according to Senator Miriam Santiago.
Santiago made the statement on Friday, November 14, following the allegation of Trillanes that Binay was involved in a plot to unseat then President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.
“Vice President Jejomar Binay could be held criminally liable for conspiracy to commit rebellion, following the recent revelation of Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV that as Makati mayor, Binay allegedly conspired with him and his military colleagues to overthrow the Arroyo administration in 2007,” read a statement released by the Santiago’s office.
Conspiracy to commit rebellion is punishable under the Penal Code by imprisonment of up to 6 years and a fine of P5,000. Santiago said a case may still be filed against Binay because the 10-year prescription period will not expire until 2017.
In response to Binay’s decision to withdraw from a one-on-one debate that the Vice President had initiated, Trillanes revealed on Tuesday that Binay had also backed out of a plan in 2007 to lauch a coup plot against Arroyo. Trillanes, then a newly-elected senator, was detained over the 2003 Oakwood mutiny.
Then mayor of Makati City, Binay supposedly joined them in their plans to launch another coup. But Binay failed to show up on the agreed date and place.
Santiago said such actions already constitute the crime of conspiracy to commit rebellion.
“Merely agreeing and deciding to rise publicly and take arms against the government for the purposes of rebellion is already punishable under the crime of conspiracy to commit rebellion. Thus, it was immaterial that Binay allegedly failed to mobilize the supporters, and was nowhere to be seen during the Manila Pen siege,” Santiago’s statement read.
President Benigno Aquino III granted Trillanes and fellow rebel soldiers amnesty in December 2010.
Santiago said this did not apply to Binay because he did not apply for amnesty with the Department of National Defense in accordance with the provisions of Presidential Proclamation No. 75, s. 2010. The application for amnesty expired on March 31, 2011.
Meanwhile, Malacañang reserved comment on the allegations made by Trillanes against Binay.
“Do we have anything to say? We have nothing to comment on that. Again, that is a matter between the senator and the camp of the Vice President,” Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said in a news briefing on Friday, responding to questions.
The Binay camp had denied Trillanes’ allegations. – Carmela Fonbuena/Rappler.com