Well, it’s official — Resigned Davao City vice mayor Paolo Duterte is indeed suing Antonio F. Trillanes IV for libel. So how to we define libel? Here’s how libel is defined by the current laws which I used the Chan Robles Virtual Law Library (since I’m no lawyer myself) as my reference to what should first constitute libel:
Art. 353. Definition of libel. — A libel is public and malicious imputation of a crime, or of a vice or defect, real or imaginary, or any act, omission, condition, status, or circumstance tending to cause the dishonor, discredit, or contempt of a natural or juridical person, or to blacken the memory of one who is dead.
If Trillanes were simply talking ill about Paolo such as calling him stupid or idiot — that wouldn’t constitute libel. As such, calling Jover Laurio as ugly shouldn’t be considered libel. However, let’s consider what Trillanes has accused Paolo (and in extension Mananses Carpio) of doing. Remember the whole shabu shipment and Trillanes repeatedly insinuates the crimes to both persons? If that’s so then he’s already guilty of a malicious imputation of a crime towards Paolo and his brother-in-law Carpio who is Sara’s husband.
Also, we have to consider how libel too can become an act of sedition:
Art. 142. Inciting to sedition. — The penalty of prision correccional in its maximum period and a fine not exceeding 2,000 pesos shall be imposed upon any person who, without taking any direct part in the crime of sedition, should incite others to the accomplishment of any of the acts which constitute sedition, by means of speeches, proclamations, writings, emblems, cartoons, banners, or other representations tending to the same end, or upon any person or persons who shall utter seditious words or speeches, write, publish, or circulate scurrilous libels against the Government (of the United States or the Government of the Commonwealth) of the Philippines, or any of the duly constituted authorities thereof, or which tend to disturb or obstruct any lawful officer in executing the functions of his office, or which tend to instigate others to cabal and meet together for unlawful purposes, or which suggest or incite rebellious conspiracies or riots, or which lead or tend to stir up the people against the lawful authorities or to disturb the peace of the community, the safety and order of the Government, or who shall knowingly conceal such evil practices. (Reinstated by E.O. No. 187).
By definition, Trillanes may also be guilty of sedition. Hasn’t he been making one unproven claim after the other against President Duterte and Paolo? Not to mention — he and his fellow mutineer Gary Alejano have already been spotted going to file cases against President Duterte in the rather useless International Criminal errr Clown Court (ICC) while spreading his dangerous lies at the same time. Those acts may already be considered acts of sedition. If what the Pasay City Prosector says is true about Trillanes plus Spox Harry Roque respects said findings — Trillanes himself too is guilty of sedition. After all, isn’t he already spreading speeches and proclamations against President Duterte? Plus, plenty of his speeches are mostly useless rants which makes it stupid to criticize Alan Peter Cayetano’s tactlessness while praising said person to be a “hero” of sorts.
If Trillanes is indeed ready to fly to Davao City to face it — he might as well prepare a helicopter and board it from the window. However such move may actually end up his own dirty laundry against him. Why I think it could go against him is for this reason — do you remember his “confidential trips” to China? What if said trips were actually related to drug dealing and he actually masterminded the shipment of shabu to Davao City? If he’s involved with it then his next wrong move may uncover all his activities. Also, Paolo has every right to sue him for malicious imputation — that move could have harmed both Paolo and his brother-in-law Carpio for a crime that they didn’t commit. He may end up choking on his own words sooner or later. Besides, this isn’t petty defamation but a real malicious imputation of a crime.