Calida threatens Trillanes with libel case: Apologize for calling me a thief

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 27) — Senator Antonio Trillanes IV may face another libel case if he doesn't retract his claim that Solicitor General Jose Calida stole his amnesty records.

"The putschist Mr. Trillanes ranted to the media yesterday that I "stole" his amnesty application document. In effect, Mr. Trillanes maliciously branded me as a thief, which I'm not," Calida said in a statement on Thursday.

He added, "Unless Mr. Trillanes expresses his sincere apology for calling me a thief, I shall be constrained to file a criminal case for libel plus damages against him.

Trillanes said Calida knows how involved he is in the voidance of his amnesty. He added, he welcomes the threat of a libel complaint.

"He's in no position to demand anything. He knows the truth. Kung magfa-file siya, gawin niya. I expect the worst out of it," he said in a media briefing.

The senator on Wednesday said Calida called Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, asking for his amnesty records. He said Calida took his records, which was the reason used by the government in voiding his amnesty.

"Nananawagan ako sa leadership ng AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) at ng DND (Department of Defense) particularly yung J1 ng AFP. Alam nila na nag-aaply ako. Alam nila na meron akong dokumento bakit hinayaan nilang kuhanin ito at iwala ni Mr. Calida?" he said in a media briefing.

Calida defended himself, saying records custodian Thea Joan Andrade from Judge Advocate General Service attested there was no copy of Trillanes' amnesty application. He added he has never entered the premises where they keep the records.

"I have never entered the offices of the J1 or the Personnel Division of the AFP at Camp Aguinaldo so how could I 'steal' documents kept there?" he said.

Trillanes previously vowed to go after Calida and other government officials who are helping President Rodrigo Duterte hatch his plan to have him arrested. The senator said Calida won't be protected because Duterte will not be in power for a long time.

A Makati Regional Trial Court issued a warrant of arrest for Trillanes on Tuesday, and he has since posted bail. But the senator still faces another pending case in a separate court, this time for the non-bailable offense of staging a coup d'etat, which was dismissed in 2011.

Duterte on August 31 signed Proclamation Order No. 572, saying the amnesty given to Trillanes in 2011 was void from the very beginning. This is because he failed to personally apply for amnesty and there are no records to prove he did. It also says Trillanes never admitted his guilt in trying to topple the government, a requirement for him to receive amnesty.

Trillanes is facing several libel cases. Presidential son and former Davao City Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte filed two libel complaints against him for linking him to drugs and for saying he was part of a Chinese drug triad.