Paolo Duterte, Mans Carpio file libel complaints vs Trillanes

DENIAL. Then Davao City Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte (left) and Maneses Carpio (right) face the Senate probe into smuggling. File photo by Joseph Vidal

DENIAL. Then Davao City Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte (left) and Maneses Carpio (right) face the Senate probe into smuggling.

File photo by Joseph Vidal

MANILA, Philippines – Aside from President Rodrigo's order to void his amnesty, Senator Antonio Trillanes IV has one more thing to worry about.

Duterte's eldest son, Paolo Duterte, and the President's son-in-law Manases Carpio filed separate libel complaints against the senator with the Office of the City Prosecutor in Davao City on Thursday, September 6.

Photos of the two complaints were sent to Rappler on Friday. The complaints were filed 3 days after the publication of Duterte's Proclamation No. 572 voiding Trillanes' amnesty and paving the way for his possible arrest.

Carpio and Duterte, a former Davao City vice mayor accused Trillanes of committing libel when he said in a radio interview that the two were involved in extorting car-hailing company Uber and other companies regulated by the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB).

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Trillanes supposedly said in an interview with DYAB Cebu in September 2017 that based on information he obtained, Duterte and Carpio connived with LTFRB Regional Director for Region VII Ahmed Cuison to demand a "percentage" or money before the approval of an Uber franchise.

The complaint included a transcript of the supposed interview. It quotes Trillanes as telling broadcaster Leo Lastimosa, "Ganito po ang impormasyon na nakalap natin. Ah, nationally meron pong shakedown tapos meron pong eto nga, etong grupo nila Mans Carpio at Paolo Duterte, na pati 'yung prangkisa ay, ah, ng Uber at ng iba pang similar na companies ay kinikikilan ng ano, ng porsyento."

(This is the information we received. Nationally, there is a shakedown and this group of Mans Carpio and Paolo Duterte are demanding a percentage for the franchise approval of Uber and other similar companies.)

Duterte said Trillanes' claim is "downright false, baseless, and unfounded" and that it was based on "double, if not multiple hearsay information."

Calling it "pure black propaganda," the former vice mayor also said Trillanes' words were intended only to "malign, destroy and kill my good name and reputation because of my being the son of our President Rodrigo Roa Duterte."

What's libel? Libel is defined in the Revised Penal Code as a "public and malicious imputation" of a crime or any act tending to "cause dishonor, discredit, or contempt" of a person.

Four elements are required to make a remark libelous: there must be imputation of a discreditable act, it must have been published, the person defamed was identified, and there must be malice.

The exceptions to this are when the remark was made during a private communication and when it was a "fair and true report" made in good faith or was about statements and acts "performed by public officers in the exercise of their functions."

At the time Trillanes made those accusations on radio, Duterte was still Davao City vice mayor.

Duterte and Carpio previously filed a civil case against Trillanes in relation to his accusations of their involvement in the smuggling of P6.4-billion worth of shabu last year.

The case was filed days after Duterte resigned as vice mayor out of "delicadeza (sense of priopriety)." – Rappler.com

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Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada covers the Office of the President and Bangsamoro regional issues for Rappler. While helping out with desk duties, she also watches the environment sector and the local government of Quezon City. For tips or story suggestions, you can reach her at pia.ranada@rappler.com.

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