Treason charges filed vs Aquino

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President Benigno S. Aquino III huddles with the ASEAN Law Association (ALA) Officials and Delegates, led by ALA president Indonesian Chief Justice Dr. Hatta Ali, for a snap shot during the courtesy call at the President’s Hall of the Malacañan Palace on Friday (February 27). A non-government organization, ALA brings together all the different branches of the law profession – judges, law teachers, law practitioners and government lawyers. (MNS photo)

President Benigno S. Aquino III huddles with the ASEAN Law Association (ALA) Officials and Delegates, led by ALA president Indonesian Chief Justice Dr. Hatta Ali, for a snap shot during the courtesy call at the President’s Hall of the Malacañan Palace on Friday (February 27). A non-government organization, ALA brings together all the different branches of the law profession – judges, law teachers, law practitioners and government lawyers. (MNS photo)

MANILA (Mabuhay) – Malacañang is not concerned about the treason complaint filed by a former assemblyman against President Benigno Aquino III and several other officials over the government’s peace negotiations with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

In a text message on Thursday, Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said the accusations made by lawyer Homobono Adaza and Herman Tiu-Laurel did not have any solid basis.

Hindi natitinag ang determinasyon ng Pangulo na isulong ang prosesong pangkapayapaan sa kabila ng mga paratang na walang matibay na batayan,” Coloma said.

On Wednesday, Adaza and Tiu-Laurel lodged a treason complaint against Aquino and members of the Philippine government’s peace panel with the Office of the Ombudsman.

The complainants accused Aquino of allowing the MILF, which they described as a “terrorist organization,” to have a “territory, more powers and more new institutions” through the comprehensive peace deal signed by the group and the Philippine government last year.

They cited Article 114 of the Revised Penal Code, which states that an individual is guilty of treason when he or she “levies war against the Philippines or adheres to her enemies giving them aid or comfort within the Philippines or elsewhere.”

Aside from Aquino, also named respondents in the complaint were peace adviser Teresita Deles, peace panel chairperson Miriam Ferrer, Senate President Franklin Drilon, House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr., as well as members of the MILF, including Murad Ebrahim, Mohagher Iqbal, Ghadzali Jaafar, and other John Does.

Earlier in the day, Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago also described the treason complaint as baseless “because they [respondents] are being punished for what seems to be a failure of judgment.”

“They made the wrong judgment… That cannot be treason,” she said.

According to her, treason is an overt act which shows a person has no loyalty left for the Philippines.

She also said pushing for the peace process with the MILF is “too far away” from treason. “At most they can be charged with poor judgment in office and in that way the remedy is political not legal. You cannot sue them in court, just boot them out of office,” she said.

The government is pushing for the approval of the Bangsamoro Basic Law, which was the result of the peace negotiation with the MILF. The proposed law aims to replace the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao and create a Bangsamoro political entity. (MNS)

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