Trillanes files cyber-libel case against Thinking Pinoy over ‘drug lord’ post

Senator Antonio Trillanes IV filed a cyber-libel complaint against blogger Rey Joseph Nieto, also known as Thinking Pinoy on November 22 before the Pasay City Prosecutor’s Office.
Trillanes filed a case against Nieto over the latters’ Facebook post on October 31, “Trump Calls Trillanes A Drug Lord.”

The senator said Nieto’s post was outright wrong and malicious, adding that the official transcript of US President Donald Trump’s press statements from the US Embassy did not include such a tag for Trillanes.

“Being a very vocal and staunch critic of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, of whom Respondent Nieto is a self-confessed diehard supporter and defender, Respondent Nieto’s post was clearly made solely for the purpose of besmirching my reputation and maligning my name,” Trillanes stated in his complaint.

He is seeking moral and exemplary damages of up to P1 million each and legal fees of P250,000 from Nieto, as well as imprisonment, for being liable for cyber-libel, after he “suffered extreme anxiety, wounded feelings, sleepless nights and a slur in his reputation.”

“In order to serve as an example for the public good, and to deter persons similarly inclined like the respondent from committing the same or similar offense, Complainant most respectfully prays that Respondent be made to pay exemplary damages in the amount of ONE MILLION PESOS,” the senator said.

Section 6 of Republic Act 10175 (Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012) states that libel committed using information and communication technologies shall be penalized one degree higher than libel committed through printing or writing.

The law said an act falls under libel if it imputes vice, crime or defect, whether real or imaginary; be public, malicious, or directed at a person, alive or dead, and must tend to cause the discredit, dishonor or contempt of the person being defamed.
Trillanes also filed libel and graft cases against Communications Assistant Secretary Mocha Uson over bank account claims.

Philippine Star columnist Al Pedroche issued an apology to Trillanes for his column, where he claimed a trusted source told him that Trump called the Philippine senator “little narco.” His column was then used as basis by another Philippine Star columnist, Mary Ann Reyes, but it was later taken down by the news site since the “supposed information cited in the column has been disputed by various other sources.”

Trillanes said that even an apology from Nieto cannot stop him from filing the case.

“Wala na. I believe lumagpas na tayo dun sa punto na yun,” the senator told reporters.

“Ngayon kasi kailangan nating magbigay ng leksyon, na habang nirerespeto natin ang freedom of expression at bilang public official ay mataas ng threshold natin diyan, pero kailangan meron kang responsibilidad,” he added.

He said he could have let it pass if Nieto stopped with name-calling, but he could not accept being labeled a “drug lord.”

“Kung tatawagin mo akong drug lord ay ibang usapan yan. I take that personally,” Trillanes said. “Kung tawagin niya kong ungas o anuman, it’s part of the territory. Pero yung direct allegation na gano’n, I will not allow it.”

When Trillanes first announced his plan to file a libel case against Nieto, the blogger called said it was “disappointing to see a lawmaker who is ignorant of the law.”

Nieto also cited that his post included the word “reportedly.”

“The allegedly libelous statement contains the word ‘reportedly.’ I hope the Senator, who appears to have no access to a dictionary, can at least Google what that word means,” Nieto said.

As to Nieto wondering whether Trillanes saw him as a “threat,” the senator responded, saying that the blogger was a “minor distraction.”

“Masyado naman siyang bilib sa sarili niya kung ganun. I’ve been up against presidents. Ginagawa ko yung trabaho ko, pero itong ganito kasi minor distraction actually,” Trillanes said.

“He is a minor distraction to be honest. Kailangan ko lang harapin kasi mamimihasa yan. Kung sa akin, kaya niyang gawin yan, eh ngayon kung gagawin niya sa taong walang accountability ay magiging anarchy itong ating lipunan,” he added.

As for Pedroche, Trillanes said he would no longer include the veteran journalist and columnist in his complaint because he already apologized.

Nieto used to serve as a consultant for the Department of Foreign Affairs, but decided to resign in October less than a week after being called to a Senate hearing on fake news.

The blogger said the Constitution should include psychiatric tests for senators.

“I have yet to receive a copy of Antonio “Sonny” Trillanes IV’s libel complaint, but wouldn’t it be fun if it starts with, “This is where your taxes go.”?” Nieto wrote on Facebook in reaction to reports about Trillanes’ libel complaint against him.

“The constitution should be amended to require psychiatric tests for senators,” he added.

When GMA News Online reached out to the blogger for comment, he said: “My statement will be published on It will also be found on my Facebook page.”

Here are excerpts of Trillanes’ case against Nieto:


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