Binay lawyer: Trillanes can’t invoke immunity from libel suit

SENATOR Antonio Trillanes IV cannot invoke parliamentary immunity from a libel suit filed against him by Makati Mayor Jejomar Erwin “Junjun” Binay.

“Mister Trillanes cannot cower behind the doctrine of parliamentary immunity. His malicious and scurrilous accusations regarding the fictitious bribery charges against Mayor Binay were made in public, outside the halls of the Senate,” lawyer Claro Certeza, Binay’s legal counsel, said Wednesday.

Certeza said Trillanes was not speaking during a Senate proceeding when he made the alleged libelous statements.

According to him, the accusations of Trillanes were not made “in relation to the discharge of his functions as a senator.”

“It is apparent that his motivation is to besmirch the reputation of the Binay family and destroy the integrity of the judiciary. He has consistently shown his utter disregard of the rule of law in order to further his selfish ambition. Thus, he must be held accountable,” he said.

He said throwing accusations without evidence have been the “style of Trillanes.”

“He accuses without evidence and then insists that the accused prove his innocence,” he said.

On Monday, Mayor Binay filed a libel case against Trillanes before the Makati City Prosecutor’s Office amid the senator’s bribery allegations.

Trillanes has earlier claimed that Binay bribed members of the Court of Appeals to issue a temporary restraining order against his 60-day suspension that was ordered by the Ombudsman.