THE Supreme Court has given the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City the go-signal to hear and resolve the P5 million damage suit filed by a businessman against Senator Antonio Trillanes for accusing him of being a “dummy” of former Vice President Jejomar Binay in the purchase of a 150-hectare property in Rosario, Batangas which has been tagged as “Hacienda Binay.”
In a 22-page decision, the SC junked the petition filed by Trillanes seeking the reversal of the resolutions issued by Judge Evangeline Castillo-Marigomen, presiding Judge of the QC RTC Branch 1010, on May 19, 2015 and December 16, 2015.
The trial court denied Trillanes’ motion to dismiss the civil suit filed by Antonio Tiu, who claimed ownership of the property through his company Sunchamp Real Estate Corporation (Sunchamp), and his motion for reconsideration.
The SC held that Trillanes cannot invoke parliamentary immunity to escape prosecution for damages over the statements he gave to media in October 2014 accusing Tiu as a mere dummy of the former vice president.
In his complaint, Tiu insisted that he is a legitimate businessman engaged in various businesses in the agricultural sector and that he has substantial shareholdings in numerous corporations and companies.
The complainant claimed that because of Trillanes’ claim his reputation was tarnished which affected his businesses as shown by the steep drop in the stock prices of his publicly listed companies.
Tiu also vehemently denied being a dummy of Binay saying that he has financial capacity to fund the development, operation and maintenance of the “Sunchamp Agri-Tourism Park.”
In seeking the dismissal of the civil suit, Trillanes asserted that Tiu was not able to prove his supposed ownership of the estate.