Former Senator Antonio Trillanes IV last week was found guilty of libel by a Makati court in connection with a complaint filed against him by ex-Makati Mayor Junjun Binay.
Instead of jail time, Makati Regional Trial Court Judge Andres Soriano reportedly imposed a P100,000-fine on Trillanes and ordered him to pay an additional P500,000 in moral damages to the plaintiff.
Binay (son of former Vice President Jojo Binay) had sued Trillanes for accusing him in public of bribery and graft and corruption which caused him to suffer contempt, hatred and ridicule which damaged his reputation.
Trillanes also accused Binay of bribing two Appellate court justices with P50 million for ruling against his suspension by the Office of the Ombudsman.
“Making and releasing these statements absent a serious verification and investigation is recklessness bordering on a disregard of what is true or false,” the judge said in his ruling.
Soriano reportedly said Trillanes’ statements were “self-serving” and no independent evidence was presented to substantiate his claims.
Judge Soriano said Trillanes could not use the right to freedom of speech as his defense as this should be used responsibly, and not to the detriment of others’ rights.
Soriano is the same Makati judge who threw out the government’s bid to revive the coup d’etat case against Trillanes.