DOJ asks Davao court to keep Trillanes from leaving PH

Lian Buan

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DOJ asks Davao court to keep Trillanes from leaving PH
Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra says the move is not linked to a Makati court's decision to allow Senator Antonio Trillanes IV to travel to Europe and the US from the second week of December to early February

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Justice (DOJ) has asked a Davao court to issue a Hold Departure Order (HDO) against opposition Senator Antonio Trillanes IV, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said on Thursday, December 6.

Guevarra was unsure on the number of motions for an HDO that the DOJ filed, but said one was set for hearing before the Davao City Regional Trial Court (RTC) on Friday, December 7.

Presidential son Paolo Duterte had filed complaints against Trillanes before Davao City prosecutors, one for libel.

“I am not sure how many [motions were filed]but I am sure that there is a motion for the issuance of HDO which is set for hearing tomorrow, Friday, with the RTC in Davao City,” Guevarra said  on the sidelines of the International Dialogue on Human Trafficking held at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC).

Prior to Guevarra’s announcement, there was no previous announcement that the presidential son’s complaints against Trillanes had reached the courts. But under a new Supreme Court (SC) rule, a precautionary HDO or PHDO can be issued against subjects of complaints, even if the latter had yet to reach the courts.

Guevarra had yet to respond to a request for clarification as of posting. (LIST: Cases, complaints filed vs Trillanes under Duterte administration)

The DOJ made the move after the Makati Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 150 decided to allow Trillanes to travel to the United States and Europe over the holidays until February for some speaking engagements. 

The Makati RTC Branch 150 has already issued an HDO against Trillanes over the reopened rebellion charges. Defendants with an HDO routinely ask court permission to travel abroad. Public officials generally have an easy time securing travel authorities for having proven they are not flight risks.

Guevarra said the motion for an HDO in Davao “has nothing to do” with the decision of Makati Branch 150 to allow Trillanes to leave the country.

“It’s (Standard Operating Procedure) whenever…an offense that is cognizable by the RTC is pending with the court. And just like a motion for the issuance of a warrant of arrest, a motion for the issuance of a HDO is something that is SOP,” Guevarra said.

Aside from the complaints in Davao, Trillanes was charged for inciting to sedition in before the Pasay RTC in March.

Labor Undersecretary Jing Paras had also filed a grave threat complaint against Trillanes before Pasay prosecutors over a confrontation between him and the senator in May. – 

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Lian Buan

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