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Calida threatens Trillanes with libel rap over missing papers


Solicitor General Jose Calida has threatened to sue Senator Antonio Trillanes IV for libel if the lawmaker will not apologize for accusing him of stealing his amnesty papers.

"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," Calida said in a statement on Thursday.

The threat comes after Trillanes alleged that it was "clear" that his missing amnesty application documents are with Calida, who is said to have asked for the papers from no less than Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana.

“Meron pang statement si (Defense) Secretary Delfin Lorenzana na hiningi ni Calida ‘yung amnesty documents ko. Kung hindi ako nag-apply e ano ang ibibigay nila. Maliwanag na kung meron mang nagtago o nagsira ng mga application documents ko e itong si Mr. Calida,” Trillanes said on Wednesday.

Calida took this to mean that Trillanes had, in effect, "maliciously branded me as a thief, which I'm not."

"Obviously, Mr. Trillanes’ rationality (assuming he had one) has deserted him," Calida said, asking "what is there to steal" if Lt. Col. Thea Joan N. Andrade, the custodian of the records, had certified there was no available copy of Trillanes' application for amnesty.

He also claimed he has "never entered" the offices of the personnel division of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, "so how could I 'steal' documents kept there?"

At the Senate, Trillanes said he won't apologize to Calida.

"He is in no position to demand anything. Alam niya ang katotohanan, alam ng buong Pilipinas at this point ang katotohanan. Kung ano man ang plano niyang gawin, I expect the worse out of him so he can do whatever he wants," Trillanes told reporters.

Trillanes said Calida is free to file a libel against him but he will not get the apology he wants. "Trip niya 'yan so he can do whatever he wants. I expect the worse out of him." 

'Read with perspicacity'

Meanwhile, Calida said said Trillanes "did not bother to read with perspicacity" the presidential proclamation that declared the former Navy officer's  amnesty "void ab initio."

Citing the proclamation's grounds, Calida said the revocation was based on Trillanes' alleged failure to apply for amnesty and to admit his guilt to offenses committed during the 2003 Oakwood Mutiny and the Manila Peninsula Siege.

Calida also quoted a news story that quoted Trillanes as "qualifying" that he was not admitting guilt to coup d'etat charges.

"If we follow the convoluted logic of Mr. Trillanes, he’s saying that he did not commit the crimes that were covered by the amnesty. If that is what he really means, then he has no need for amnesty because when one applies for amnesty he must expressly admit his guilt to the crimes he committed," he said.

It can be recalled that Calida had gone to the Supreme Court seeking a stop to the Senate investigation - which Trillanes had moved for - on his family-owned security agency's multi-million contracts with government agencies. —NB/RSJ, GMA News

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