By Camille A. Aguinaldo

Senator Antonio F. Trillanes IV on Thursday, March 15, said he would not back down from the filing of inciting to sedition charges against him by the Pasay Prosecutor’s Office.

“Unlike (President Rodrigo R.) Duterte who is afraid to face cases, I will face this,” he said in a statement.

“If their goal is to scare me to back down from criticizing Duterte, well, as I said before, this further encourages me to stand up against what is wrong and evil,” he added.

In his privileged speech last October, Mr. Trillanes accused Mr. Duterte of amassing over P2 billion worth of ill-gotten wealth, detailing Mr. Duterte’s alleged bank transactions from 2006 to 2015.

He said that the military should shoot the President with an M-60 machine gun for his alleged hidden wealth.

This prompted the lawyers of the Volunteer Against Crime and Corruption (VACC), including former Negros congressman Jacinto V. Paras and Manuelito R. Luna, to file inciting to sedition and rebellion charges against Mr. Trillanes.

The senator, in his statement, argued that his statements were covered by the constitutionally-guaranteed immunity from suit during a privileged speech.

According to the resolution dated March 14 and signed by Pasay City senior assistant city prosecutor Joahna A. Gahbatino-Lim, the remarks made by the senator in his privileged speech last October “have been suggestive to fall within the scope of inciting to sedition.”

“It is recommended that the within attached information for inciting to sedition… against respondents Senator Antonio F. Trillanes IV, John and Jane Does be approved and filed in court,” stated the resolution released Thursday.

The prosecutor’s office, however, did not find probable cause to charge the senator for conspiracy and proposal to commit coup d’etat.

Sought for comment, presidential spokesperson Harry L. Roque said: “We respect the finding of our Pasay prosecutor on this.”

Mr. Trillanes, however, maintained that the filing of the case intended to harass him over his criticisms against the President and his policies.

“It is clear that this case is twisted and is meant to harass me… I am not inciting anyone to do anything,” he said.