IBP: ‘Bikoy’ not under our custody

Robie de Guzman   •   May 7, 2019   •   2672

MANILA, Philippines – The Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) on Tuesday belied rumors that Peter Joemel Advincula, the man claiming to be ‘Bikoy’ in the video series called “Ang Totoong Narco List,” is under their custody following his press conference at its headquarters in Ortigas.

On Monday, Advincula went to IBP to seek legal assistance to file charges against presidential son Paolo Duterte; Lawyer Manases Carpio, the husband of Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte; and Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go, former aide of President Rodrigo Duterte.

READ: Man claiming to be Bikoy asks help from IBP

He claimed he was the hooded figure in the video series implicating some members of the Duterte family and their close allies to the narcotics trade.

“We would like to dispel rumors that Mr. Peter Joemel Advincula is in the custody and care of the IBP. The IBP leadership is unaware of his current whereabouts,” the IBP said in a statement released late Tuesday.

The IBP issued the statement following speculations that Advincula is under its care.

It also maintained that it did not organize Advincula’s press briefing, and it has nothing to do with the statement that he read before the media.

“The presence of media outfits was not upon the invitation nor direction of the IBP, ” it said.

“IBP did not craft Mr. Advincula’s statement, and/or sworn statement,” it added.

The IBP also reiterated that Advincula was received at their office on Monday like any other applicant seeking legal assistance from its National Center for Legal Aid.

“Right now, his application for legal aid is still under the evaluation by the NCLA,” the group said.

The IBP reiterated it continues to the sentinel of the rule of law in the country, which has a “mandate to maintain independence and credibility as the umbrella organization of all lawyers in the Philippines.”

In response to Advincula’s appearance at the IBP and drug allegations against the Duterte family and their close allies, Senator Panfilo Lacson said his committee has invited the former to attend its hearing on Friday.

Lacson said the formal invitation to Advincula will be sent out through the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) since it was the last place where he was seen.

READ: Senate to probe ‘Bikoy’ claims this week

Malacañang, meanwhile, expressed doubt on Advincula’s credibility, noting that he is currently facing multiple criminal cases.

READ: NBI to summon man claiming to be ‘Bikoy’

The National Bureau of Investigation and the Philippine National Police earlier said they will summon Advincula to answer questions pertaining to his identity and his allegations against the Dutertes.

Duterte thanks outgoing British envoy Pruce for help in accessing more COVID-19 vax shots

Robie de Guzman   •   August 5, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte thanked outgoing British Ambassador to the Philippines Daniel Pruce for his role in improving the Philippines’ access to COVID-19 vaccines.

Duterte expressed his gratitude when Pruce made his farewell call in Malacañang on Wednesday (August 4).

In a statement issued by the Palace, Duterte thanked the United Kingdom for donating 415,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine to the Philippines’ vaccination drive.

“President Duterte cited Ambassador Pruce’s personal role in improving vaccine access for the Philippines eventually leading to the conclusion of the innovative Tripartite Agreement between the government of the Philippines (GPH), local government units (LGU), and private sector for the procurement of AstraZeneca vaccines,” the statement read.

Duterte also congratulated Pruce for a successful tour of duty, crediting him for the “revitalization of the United Kingdom’s economic and political presence in the Philippines through high-level exchanges and dialogues.”

Meanwhile, the president called for the finalization of the Memorandum of Understanding on the Recruitment of Filipino healthcare professionals to ensure fair, ethical, and sustainable recruitment and employment of Filipino healthcare workers in the United Kingdom.

“President Duterte also reiterated the Philippines’ support for the UK’s Presidency of COP26 in 2021, recognizing the UK’s bold commitments as it steers the global climate agenda towards urgent climate action,” the Palace said.

Pruce, for his part, thanked Duterte for the Philippines’ support of the UK’s dialogue partnership with ASEAN, and in its efforts to further strengthen bilateral ties across a broad range of areas, including political and defense cooperation, trade and investments, people-to-people exchanges, and fighting the coronavirus pandemic.

He also stressed the importance placed by the UK on its relations with the Philippines and further underscored that the Philippines-UK diplomatic cooperation will continue to grow.

Duterte recalls order to terminate VFA with US – Lorenzana

Robie de Guzman   •   July 30, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered the retraction of the termination of the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) between the Philippines and the United States, the Department of National Defense (DND) said Friday.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana made the announcement after Duterte met with visiting US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin III in Malacañang on Thursday.

“The President decided to recall or retract the termination letter for the VFA,” Lorenzana said during a press briefing with Austin.

The VFA came into force in 1999. It outlines the guidelines about the treatment of their troops when visiting the US or the Philippines.

The pact also includes provisions on visa and passport policies for US troops and the American government’s right to retain jurisdiction over its personnel, among others.

Duterte last year ordered the abrogation of the VFA, which is anchored in the PH-US 1951 defense treaty.

The termination of the pact, however, was suspended citing the coronavirus pandemic and the relevant developments in the region.

Austin, for his part, welcomed Duterte’s decision to “fully restore the VFA.”

“A strong, resilient US-Philippine alliance will remain vital to the security, stability and prosperity of the Indo-Pacific. A fully restored VFA will help up achieve that goals together,” Austin said.

In a separate statement, Malacañang said the Philippines and the United States made a renewed commitment to strengthen their partnership in various areas of mutual interest.

The Palace said Duterte and Austin had “an open and frank discussion” on the status and future direction of Philippines-US engagement during a 75-minute courtesy call of the US defense secretary on the President.

“They agreed that the alliance can be further strengthened through enhanced communication and greater cooperation, particularly in the areas of pandemic response, combating transnational crimes, including the war on illegal drugs, maritime domain awareness, the rule of law, and trade and investments,” the statement read.

US Defense chief Austin is on an official visit to Southeast Asia that includes stops in Singapore, Vietnam and the Philippines. The visit aims to bolster the US’ ties with the said nations.

His visit coincides with the commemoration of the 75th Anniversary of the Establishment of Diplomatic Relations of the US and the Philippines and the 70th Anniversary of the Philippines-US Mutual Defense Treaty this year.

US Defense chief Austin to meet with Duterte on July 29 – Palace

Robie de Guzman   •   July 29, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte is set to meet with United States Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin III at Malacañang on Thursday, July 29.

In a statement, the Palace said Austin will pay a courtesy call on Duterte upon his arrival in the Philippines.

Austin is on an official visit to Southeast Asia that includes stops in Singapore, Vietnam, and the Philippines. The visit aims to bolster the US’ ties with the said nations.

He will stay in Manila until Friday.

The US Defense chief’s visit highlights the 75th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the Philippines and the United States and the 70th anniversary of the signing of the PH-US Mutual Defense Treaty, the Palace said.

Executive Secretary Salvador Mediadea, Secretary of Foreign Affairs Teodoro Locsin Jr., Secretary of National Defense Delfin Lorenzana, Philippine Ambassador to the United States Jose Manuel Romualdez, and Presidential Assistant on Foreign Affairs Robert Borje are expected to attend the courtesy call, it added.

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