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Bong Go bares his back to deny alleged link to drug syndicate

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Wednesday, April 10th, 2019

Senatorial aspirant, Christopher ‘Bong’ Go bares his back to deny his alleged links to an illegal drug syndicate.

Senatorial aspirant and former Special Assistant to the President Christopher ‘Bong’ Go on Wednesday bared his back to refute his alleged links to an illegal drug syndicate.

Go showed off his back to debunk claims he has a tattoo as mentioned in a series of videos uploaded by a certain ‘Bikoy’.

In the third installment of videos entitled, “Ang Totoong Narco List,” ‘Bikoy’ tagged Go as one of the big bosses in a drug syndicate who allegedly owns four local bank accounts where drug money is funneled. He alleged that Go used the codename “TESOROGOLF-TSG002,” which supposedly represents the former presidential aide’s full name Christopher Lawrence ‘Bong’ Tesoro Go.

Bikoy, who claimed to be a former member of a drug syndicate operating in Luzon and Visayas, said Go has a dragon tattoo on his back that bears the alphanumeric code “COATLIBRA-0018” from the drug transactions.

At a campaign sortie in Agusan del Sur on Wednesday, Go dispelled the accusations by baring his back.

Former Presidential aide Bong Go bares his tattoo-less back to debunk his alleged links to a drug syndicate. | Photo by Bong Go

There was no tattoo on his back but there were circular marks, which Go said were due to ventosa cupping therapy.

In another campaign sortie in Laguna on Monday, Go denied having a tattoo and accused his political opponents of employing “desperate” tactics.

“Hindi pa po ako nagkaroon ng tatoo kailanman sa  buhay ko, balat po marami ako sa likod,” he said.   

(I never had a tattoo. Birth marks, I have many on my back)

He also denied involvement in the drug ring, stressing that his former boss and still close ally – President Rodrigo Duterte – abhors illegal drugs.

Malacañang has dismissed the allegations against Go, and presidential son Paolo Duterte who was also tagged as among the principals of a drug syndicate, as mere propaganda.

“We’ve been saying all along that that was a black propaganda. There are people who believe it, hook, line, and sinker. It’s now showing that it’s not true. It’s never been true,” Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said. – Robie de Guzman/Roderic Mendoza

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Cayetano formally elected as House Speaker, vows to ‘do what is right’

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Monday, July 22nd, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – Members of the House of Representatives have formally elected Taguig-Pateros Representative Alan Peter Cayetano as their next leader when the regular session of the 18th Congress opened on Monday (July 22).

With a vote of 266, Cayetano defeated his lone opponent for Speaker, Manila Representative Bienvenido “Benny” Abante who only received 28 votes.

Two solons abstained while one voted “no” to either nominations.

During the election, Cayetano was nominated by his former speakership rivals, Marinduque Representative Lord Allan Velasco, Leyte Representative Martin Romualdez and Davao City Representative Paolo Duterte.

Abante was nominated by Iloilo Representative Janet Garin and AKO BICOL party-list Representative Alfredo Garbin.

President Rodrigo Duterte earlier endorsed Cayetano’s bid for speakership, who will share the term with Velasco. The president proposed that Cayetano lead the House for 15 months and be succeeded by Velasco for the remaining 21 months.

Cayetano vowed to uphold the term-sharing agreement.

“Sana po ako’y maging worthy at sana po ay tulungan niyo ako para sa loob ng 15 na buwan ay mapagsilbihan po natin ang ating mga kababayang Mabuti,” he said in his speech after his election.

(I hope to be worthy and I hope you will help me during the 15 months to serve our people well.)

The newly-elected speaker also assured that the House of Representatives, under his helm, will be a partner of the Duterte administration.

“The House of Representatives, the House of the People are partners with the Duterte administration,” he said.

“We are partners in pursuing a better life for all Filipinos, whether we talk about teachers, about senior citizens, about young people, OFWs, professionals, our teachers, government workers, workers in the private sectors, or out-of-school youth, rich or poor, young or old, of whatever persuasion, of whatever religion, we are all connected and united,” he elaborated.

Aside from his assurance to remain as the Duterte administration’s ally, Cayetano also called on House members to unite and to do what is right.

“Tayo po ang takbuhan ng sambayanan. We will do what is right, so that we will have a Congress that is relevant, responsive and reliable… United and we commit to God, our people the work of the 18th Congress,” he said.

Still in line with the president’s endorsement, Romualdez was elected on Monday as House Majority Leader.

Meanwhile, Presidential son, Paolo was elected as one of the 11 deputy speakers of the House of Representatives along with Representatives Ferdinand Hernandez, Evelina Escudero, Loren Legarda, Conrad Estrella III, Prospero Pichay Jr., Roberto Puno, Eduardo Villanueva, Aurelio Gonzales Jr., Johnny Pimentel and Luis Raymond Villafuerte.

Davao City 3rd District Representative Isidro Ungab was elected as chairman of the House Committee on Appropriations while Cavite Representative Abraham Tolentino was voted as chairman of the Committee on Accounts.

The lower House also elected Jose Luis Montales as Secretary General and Retired Gen. Ramon Apolinario as Sergeant-at-Arms.

The election for Speakership inside the House Plenary hall this year did not have any ruckus compared to last year after House members ousted then-speaker, Davao del Norte Representative Pantaleon Alvarez and replaced him with then-Pampanga Representative Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. Last year’s Speakership squabble delayed Duterte’s third State of the Nation Address by an hour.

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VP Robredo, opposition senators react to sedition case

by Marje Pelayo   |   Posted on Friday, July 19th, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – Vice President Leni Robredo, Senators Leila de Lima and Risa Hontiveros, and former Senators Antonio Trillanes IV and Bam Aquino reacted to the sedition case filed against them in relation to an alleged destabilization plot against President Rodrigo Duterte.

The complaint was filed by the Philippine National Police-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (PNP-CIDG) before the Department of Justice (DOJ) on Thursday (July 18).

Advincula originally appeared in a series of videos dubbed as “Ang Totoong Narcolist” linking some personalities from the opposition as behind the alleged ‘Project Sodoma’ or the ouster plot against the President.

He retracted his claims and resurfaced as one of the respondents and a witness of the CIDG.   

“Ito na siguro iyong totoong hinihintay na pagkakataon. Ito na iyong laban. Dito na magkakaalaman kung sino iyong nagsasabi ng totoo, kung sino iyong nagsisinungaling, kung sino iyong manggagamit at kung sino iyong gumagamit ng mga tao para maghari iyong kagustuhan nila,” he said during the filing of complaint at the DOJ.

The CIDG filed charges of sedition, inciting to sedition, libel, cyber libel, estafa, harboring a criminal and obstruction of justice against Vice President Leni Robredo, Senators Leila de Lima and Risa Hontiveros, and Former Senators Antonio Trillanes IV and Bam Aquino.

Also among the respondents are officials of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, several lawyers, and clergymen who were allegedly involved in the destabilization plot.

“Napakaganda noong kaso, napakadaming ebidensya ako mismo hindi ko inasahan na ganoon pala karami iyong matitibay na ebidensya laban dito sa nasasangkot dito sa kaso na ito,” noted Atty. Larry Gadon who took on the case as Advincula’s legal counsel.

Detained Senator Leila de lima called the complaint “hogwash” and just a “piece of trash”.

“Hogwash. Basura pa iyan siguro kaysa sa mga isinampang kaso laban sa akin (Hogwash. It is probably more absurd than the cases filed against me),” she said during the arraignment of her illegal drug case at the Muntinlupa Court on Friday.

“The credibility of Bikoy is already down the drain. Siya iyong criminal. Siya iyong umamin na kriminal eh tapos siya iyong ginagamit ngayon ng CIDG laban sa tingin nila ay kumakalaban sa administrasyon (He is the criminal. He’s the one who admitted being a criminal. Now the CIDG is using him against those who they accused of betraying the government),” De Lima’s legal counsel Atty. Boni Tacardon said.

On his official social media page, Trillanes said: “The filing of cases against key members of the opposition are clear acts of political persecution and harassment by the Duterte administration meant to stifle democratic dissent.”

But Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra clarified that the DOJ is not a weapon for oppression or persecution.

“We shall go only by the evidence presented before us and we don’t care who gets indicted and who goes scot-free,” he said.

He added however that once probable cause is determined and a criminal case is filed in court, the DOJ will exert the full force of the law to secure a conviction.

Opposition lawyer Atty. Chel Diokno, meanwhile, accused the administration of rushing a conviction even without strong evidence against the accused.

“Luto ang kasong ito. Sabik na sabik ata ang administrasyon na ikulong kami, kahit walang basehan o ebidensiya. Bilang abogado para sa mahihirap, sanay na ako sa ganitong pangaapi. Tuloy ang laban natin para sa hustisya,” he said in a statement.

(This case is rigged. This administration can’t wait to put us behind bars despite the lack of basis or evidence. As a lawyer for the poor, I am used to these types of oppression. Our fight for justice continues.)

Hontiveros, meanwhile, said the complaint was nothing but “a badly-written telenovela.”

“Bad acting. Awful script. Terrible plot twist,” she said.

Robredo’s camp said they are yet to receive a copy of the complaint but knowing the background of the complainant, they were sure that it was “completely baseless and nothing more than plain and simple harassment.”

“Kwentong kutsero na pinilit gawing batayan sa kaso (they are forcing a tall tale to be the basis for a case),” Robredo’s legal counsel Atty. Barry Gutierrez concluded. – with reports from Mai Bermudez

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Palace denies hand in filing of sedition raps vs Robredo, opposition

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Friday, July 19th, 2019

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo

MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang on Friday denied involvement in the filing of sedition charges against Vice President Leni Robredo and other known opposition figures over the “Ang Totoong Narcolist” video series.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo insisted that the Palace had nothing to do with the complaint, when asked if the move is part of the Duterte administration’s “crackdown” against the opposition group.

“We have nothing to do with this case. None at all,” Panelo said in a statement.

The Philippine National Police-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (PNP-CIDG) on Thursday filed the complaint before the Department of Justice (DOJ) in connection with videos, where a certain Bikoy linked members of the Duterte family to the narcotics trade.

Peter Joemel Advincula, who claimed to be the hooded figure “Bikoy” in the videos, was named in the complaint as a witness and respondent.

Aside from Robredo, other named respondents in the complaint were former Senators Bam Aquino, Antonio Trillanes IV, Senators Risa Hontiveros, Leila de Lima and members of the Otso Diretso senatorial slate.

Cyber libel, estafa, and obstruction of justice charges were also filed by the police against a total of 38 respondents.

The opposition Liberal Party has branded the charges as “harassment” and “persecution”, while de Lima belittled the case, calling it “pure hogwash.”

“Pure hogwash ‘yung mga kaso na naman yan. Basura yun,” she said in an ambush interview before the hearing of the charges filed against her at Muntinlupa Regional Trial Court Branch 205.

Panelo, meanwhile, called on administration critics to let the justice system work to determine the truth about the issue. (with details from Rosalie Coz)

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