MALACAÑANG on Friday shrugged off the dare of Sen. Antonio Trillanes 4th on President Rodrigo Duterte to sue him for libel.
In a news conference, presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said Trillanes’ latest call on the President was mere “noise.”
“As part of the whole situation, I am saying that all this noise seems to be towards a particular situation. In other words, what I’m saying is that we don’t need to react on that, do we?” Abella told reporters.
Abella’s statement came after Trillanes dared Duterte to file a libel complaint against him if indeed his allegation that the President had more than P2 billion in bank deposits was untrue.
Trillanes issued the statement after Duterte hit media outfits over “unfair” reports regarding his supposed hidden wealth.
“Mr. President, if the media reports based on my allegations weren’t true, then why didn’t you just sue me for libel?” said the senator, a member of the Senate minority bloc.
“By the way, my allegation wasn’t P200 million but more than P2 billion in accumulated credits in your bank ac-counts,” Trillanes said in a text message.
Abella said the move of Trillanes seemed to have been “orchestrated” after his ally, Magdalo Rep. Gary Alejano, filed a supplemental impeachment complaint against Duterte.
Asked if Duterte has any plans to sue the senator, Abella said: “It all depends on the President but nothing has been discussed about that.”
In a statement on Thursday, Abella dismissed as “unfounded” the supplemental impeachment complaint over the Chief Executive’s supposed failure to protect the country’s claims to disputed areas of the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) and Benham Rise off Luzon.
Abella claimed the filing was a “political tactic” as Alejano wants to run for senator.
“The supplemental impeachment complaint-affidavit filed by Magdalo Representative Gary Alejano against the President is unfounded, lacking both in form and substance; but more seriously it seems that this is part and parcel of his intention to run for the Senate to replace Senator Trillanes,” Abella said.
“The political tactic of filing an ‘incomplete’ impeachment complaint on the first day of recess of the House of Rep-resentatives then to ‘supplement’ it on a different day seems geared towards providing media mileage for the proponent,” he added.
The Palace official assured the public that the Chief Executive was working hard to protect the country’s territory.
“The President is the chief architect of the nation’s foreign policy and under his leadership, we strive to safeguard the national interest, sovereignty and territorial integrity,” he said.
“On the issue of Benham Rise, Scarborough Shoal, and the disputed features in the West Philippine Sea, the Phil-ippines will continuously uphold and assert our rights,” Abella added.
WITH A REPORT FROM JEFFERSON ANTIPORDA