Press Release
June 18, 2017

Ombudsman junks treason, espionage case against ex-PNoy, Trillanes

The Office of the Ombudsman has released its resolution dismissing the Treason and Espionage case against former President Benigno Simeon Aquino and Senator Antonio "Sonny" F. Trillanes IV.

In the resolution issued by the Ombudsman, it did not find probable cause for Treason and Espionage, and there was no evidence to prove that there was conspiracy between the Aquino and Trillanes as alleged by the complainants.

On May 6, 2016, Gen. Roberto T. Lastimoso, Dr. Enrico Sampang, Judge Moslemen T. Macarambon, former Congressman Ronald Adamat and Dr. Dioscoro Esteban, Jr. filed a complaint against the two for violation of Articles 114, Treason, and 117, Espionage, of the Revised Penal Code.

The complainants questioned the backchannel negotiations done by Trillanes, who acted under the authority of Aquino as then president, with the Chinese representatives in connection with the standoff in the Scarborough Shoal. They alleged that Trillanes meddled in the country's foreign affairs and placed our national security at risk by muddling the issues and peddling misinformation.

In dismissing the Treason and Espionage allegations, the Ombudsman noted: "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.'"

According to the Ombudsman: "As a result of the intense stand-off in April and May 2012 between Chinese and Philippines vessels in the Scarborough Shoal, Pres. Aquino's action of exploring means of peacefully settling the on-going issue with China was for the interest of the Philippines. It is an inherent presidential power to pursue negotiations with other States. On the other hand, Sen. Trillanes merely acted under Pres. Aquino's instruction to negotiate with Chinese representatives in order to ease the escalating tension between the two States."

"The aggressive posturing of China was made known as earlv as Mav 23, 2011 when it was reported that...military garrisons and outposts are located in six reefs that are part of the Kalayaan Island Group. The back channel negotiation between Sen. Trillanes and Chinese representatives commenced only in May 2012. The alleged hostilities and aggression in the West Philippine Sea could not, therefore, be attributed to the backchannel discussions between Sen. Trillanes and the Chinese representatives," the decision further explained.

Reacting on the Ombudsman's decision, opposition Senator Trillanes said: "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."

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