By Lian Buan in Manila
A Philippines court has issued arrest warrants against former senator Antonio Trillanes IV and 10 other people for conspiracy to commit sedition, the court confirmed.
The branch clerk of Quezon City Metropolitan Trial Court (MeTC) Branch 138 confirmed today that the warrants had been issued by Judge Kristine Grace Suarez to all 11 charged in a case over the so-called Bikoy Ang Totoong Narcolist (The True Narcolist) videos.
The accused, including two priests, will be arraigned on Monday at 2 pm.
As many as three people have posted bail at P10,000 (about NZ$310) each, said the clerk. The clerk refused to disclose their identities but two of those who posted bail were priests Flaviano Villanueva and Albert Alejo.
A copy of the warrants were also not provided.
Besides Trillanes, the 10 others charged are:
Peter Joemel Advincula, alias Bikoy
Fr Flaviano Villanueva
Fr Albert Alejo
A certain “Monique”
Last year, Advincula accused members of the opposition, as well as ranking figures in the Catholic Church and human rights lawyers, of conspiring to oust President Rodrigo Duterte through what he claimed was an operation code-named Project Sodoma, which involved producing and releasing the narcolist videos.
On Monday, February 10, the Department of Justice filed charges against Trillanes and 10 others over the Bikoy videos but cleared Vice-President Leni Robredo, senators Leila de Lima and Risa Hontiveros, former senator Bam Aquino, former Magdalo representative Gary Alejano, and Otso Diretso candidates Erin Tañada, Chel Diokno, and Florin Hilbay.
All complaints against human rights lawyers, bishops, and members of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines were also dropped.
Trillanes, a fierce critic of Duterte, was first arrested under the Duterte administration on September 2018, when he was a sitting senator, for the charge of rebellion. This stemmed from Duterte’s Proclamation No. 572 which sought to revoke the amnesty granted to him in connection to the 2003 Oakwood mutiny and the 2007 Manila Peninsula siege.
The opposition and human rights groups slammed the September 2018 arrest as part of the Duterte government’s crackdown on vocal critics.
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