The camp of Rodrigo Duterte has filed treason and espionage charges against President Benigno Aquino III and Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV for undertaking “back-channel talks” with China that “only advanced [the] interest of our Asian neighbor.”
Martin Diño, Duterte’s national campaign manager, announced Friday’s filing of the treason and espionage charges by supporters of the Davao mayor in the Office of the Ombudsman, at a press conference at Club Filipino in San Juan City.
The filing came as Trillanes publicly accused Duterte, the front-runner in the presidential race, of having millions of pesos in undeclared bank accounts.
The complaint said “Senator Trillanes met with the Chinese 16 times, and he requested that the meeting [be] secret. In those meetings, Trillanes made mention that the Philippines cannot enforce coastal protection. And that made the Chinese take an aggressive [stance] and take over our areas like Scarborough Shoal and Spratly Islands. That alone constitutes treason,” former Rep. Ronald Adamat, one of the complainants, said, quoting from supposed notes made by former Philippine Ambassador to China Sonia Brady.
Although the complaint recognized that under the law, treason requires that the Philippines be involved in a war, it said “external aggression” was committed by China when it “immediately occupied the subject areas.”
As for the charge of espionage, the complaint said China had been “emboldened” by the information “gathered from” Trillanes.
“We include the President because Trillanes could not have done this without the order of the President. They breached international policy. They did it without coursing their efforts through the foreign affairs department,” Adamat said.