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No evidence! Ombudsman junks treason charges vs Aquino, Trillanes filed by Duterte allies

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The Office of the Ombudsman has resolved to junk the charges of treason and espionage filed against former President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III and Sen. Antonio Trillanes citing lack of probable cause.

In its resolution, the Ombudsman also found no evidence to prove that there was conspiracy between the former president and Trillanes in undertaking back-channel talks with China at the time when there was a “standoff” between the two countries at the disputed Scarborough Shoal.

The said incident prompted the Aquino government to elevate the matter before the United Nations (UN) Arbitral Tribunal in which the Philippines obtained a favorable ruling.

“The decision proves our point from the very start that the case was merely filed to harass and tarnish my reputation. This is what happens when your political opponents start to believe their own propaganda. But no matter how they twist the facts, in the end, the truth will always come out,” Trillanes, who relayed the Ombudsman’s resolution, said.

The complaint was filed by allies of President Rodrigo Duterte a few days before the presidential elections last May 2016 or two weeks after Trillanes first bared the alleged secret bank accounts of Duterte.

In their complaint, retired police Gen. Roberto Lastimoso, Dr. Enrico Sampang, Judge Moslemen Macarambon, former Rep. Ronald Adamat and Dr. Dioscoro Esteban Jr. questioned Trillanes’ backchannel talks with China in resolving the said standoff in the Scarborough Shoal in April 2012.

The Ombudsman, however, noted that Trillanes merely acted under instruction and authority of then Pres. Aquino to negotiate with Chinese representatives to ease the escalating tension then.

Such backchannel negotiations could not have contributed to the rising tension in the West Philippine Sea then as the alleged hostilities and aggression by China took place as early as May 2011, the Ombudsman said.

“Treason is a war crime. It is not an all-time offense. While there is peace, there are no traitors. There must be actual hostilities. Backchannel negotiations with China cannot be construed as ‘giving aid to enemy’,” the Ombudsman said.