Palace shrugs off 'treason' complaint vs Aquino, Trillanes-A A +A
Sunday, September 23, 2012
MALACANANG shrugged off on Saturday the complaint filed by lawyer Oliver Lozano before the Office of the Ombudsman against President Benigno Aquino III and Senator Antonio Trillanes IV for allegedly committing treason in relation to the West Philippine Sea issue.
In a radio interview, deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said that Lozano, who was the lawyer of late President Ferdinand Marcos, should check his facts.
"Two things: one, treason, please look at the legal definition of treason because treason is committed in wartime. And under no circumstances, can the present situation be construed as we are in wartime," she said.
"Second, Attorney Lozano should know that the sitting President is removable only by impeachment. That is something that is very basic...and impeachment is initiated in the House of Representatives not in the Office of the Ombudsman. So please check what you are doing," said Valte, who is also a lawyer by profession.
In the case he filed before Ombudsman, Lozano alleged that Aquino and Trillanes committed treason for the senator's backchannel negotiation with China to the prejudice of the Filipino people.
"With alleged go-signal of President Aquino, Senator Trillanes surreptitiously negotiated with Chinese officials regarding the Philippines-China Sea Dispute in order to benefit China to the prejudice of the Philippines amounting to treason," Lozano said in the complaint.
Meanwhile, Valte expressed hope that businessman Manuel V. Pangilinan will not pull out his operations in the country after the latter's name was dragged into the backroom negotiations by Trillanes with Beijing.
The senator had accused Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario, who once worked with Pangilinan, of favoring the businessman's interest on his company's exploration project in Reed Bank in West Philippine Sea.
Pangilinan's firm was trying to come up with an agreement with a Chinese firm for a joint exploration in the area.
Del Rosario, however, denied Trillanes' allegation.
"Certainly we hope that (this) will not be the case because these things do sort themselves out over time," Valte said on the reported threat that Pangilinan will pull out his investments.
She noted that several people have already been dragged on the backchannelling negotiations that Trillanes had done with China to ease the tension in the West Philippine Sea, particularly on the Scarborough or Panatag Shoal.
President Benigno Aquino III confirmed that he authorized Trillanes to help in talking with Chinese authorities over the territorial issue with them. (SDR/Sunnex)