THE camp of Makati Mayor Jejomar Erwin Binay Jr. on Wednesday insisted that Sen. Antonio Trillanes 4th cannot invoke parliamentary immunity as a defense in a libel case filed against the senator by the city executive.
Lawyer Claro Certeza, Binay’s legal counsel, cited Trillanes’ “baseless and malicious bribery allegations” against the mayor in media interviews and outside Congress.
The senator “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,” Certeza said.
At the same time, he pointed out that Trillanes was not speaking during a Senate proceeding when he made the “libelous statements.”
“Moreover, [such statements]were not made in relation to the discharge of his functions as a senator,” Certeza said.
Trillanes’ motivation, he added, was 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,” Certeza said.
Binay on Monday filed the libel complaint against Trillanes before the Office of the Makati City Prosecutor after the latter accused him of bribery, irregularities and other crimes “without factual basis.”
In his complaint-affidavit, the Makati mayor denounced the libelous statements of Trillanes, saying these were apparently prompted by ill will and the intent to injure his reputation as well as that of his family.
“They were clearly made with no good intention or justifiable motive,” he said, noting that the senator himself admitted to reporters that he had no factual basis for his allegations.