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IBP declines ‘Bikoy’ request for legal help

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Wednesday, May 8th, 2019

Peter Joemel Advincula

MANILA, Philippines – The Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) has rejected the request for legal aid of Peter Joemel Advincula who claims to be ‘Bikoy’ in the controversial “Ang Totoong Narco List” video series.

Advincula on Monday surfaced at the IBP headquarters in Pasig City to seek legal assistance, claiming there were threats to his life.

READ: Man claiming to be Bikoy asks help from IBP

In a statement released on Wednesday, the IBP through its National Center for Legal Aid (NCLA) said it decided to decline Advincula’s request for free legal assistance after duly processing and conducting “a thorough evaluation of his application.”

“The NCLA has determined that Mr. Advincula may not be provided free legal assistance based on the standards provided for in the NCLA Manual of Operations in approving such requests,” the IBP said.

The IBP stated that Advincula came to their office to seek free legal assistance and representation in the filing of charges against certain individuals, including candidates for elective positions for their alleged involvement in the illegal drug trade.

“In the pursuit of its mandate to provide access to justice to the poor and the marginalized, the IBP cannot be seen to be siding with or going against any candidate or political party,” it said.

The IBP added that communications and documents submitted by Advincula shall remain privileged and confidential.

The organization earlier denied speculations that ‘Bikoy’ is under its custody. The group also maintained that it was unaware of his press briefing at their facility, and had nothing to do with the statement he read before the media.

READ: IBP: ‘Bikoy’ not under our custody

READ: Senate to probe ‘Bikoy’ claims this week

A Senate panel is set to conduct a hearing on Advincula’s claims on Friday.

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Malacañang expects Go, Bato, Tolentino to be independent as senators

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Thursday, May 16th, 2019

(L-R) Former Philippine National Police chief Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa, former presidential adviser Francis Tolentino, former special assistant to the president Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go

MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang on Thursday (May 16) said it expects incoming senators, particularly those who are close allies of President Rodrigo Duterte, to be independent when it comes to issues involving national interest.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo made the statement following concerns that the check and balances in government may be affected as administration-backed Senate bets look set to join the upper chamber of Congress.

Partial and unofficial count from the Commission on Elections (Comelec) showed that nine Senate bets endorsed by Duterte are in the top 12.

These are reelectionist Senator Cynthia Villar, former special assistant to the president Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go, former Philippine National Police chief Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa, former presidential adviser Francis Tolentino, House Deputy Speaker Pia Cayetano, reelectionist senators Sonny Angara and Koko Pimentel, Ilocos Norte Governor Imee Marcos and former Senator Bong Revilla.

Three of them – Go, Dela Rosa and Tolentino – are known close allies of Duterte.

Panelo, however, believes that the three will do their job well and always put first the best interest of the nation.

 “It’s just happened that they are very close to the president but that doesn’t mean they will be subservient,” he said.

“Whether or not Senate or Congress is dominated by the allies of whoever is incumbent, we expect them to pass economic reforms that will be beneficial to the Filipino people. The issue on whether you are an ally or not should not be discussed,” he added.

Panelo stressed that the mandate of the Congress is to pass laws that will be beneficial for the people.

“It’s about time to eradicate the discussion on parties’ consideration. That is where we fail,” he said.

Aside from Duterte’s allies, other senatorial candidates who are in the winners’ circle based on partial tally are reelectionist senators Grace Poe, Nancy Binay, and former senator Lito Lapid. (with details from Rosalie Coz)

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Bong Go casts vote after queueing for three hours

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Monday, May 13th, 2019

Senatorial bet Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go waiting for his turn to vote

DAVAO CITY, Philippines – Former Special Assistant to the President and now Administration senatorial bet Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go on Monday cast his vote for the 2019 Midterm National and Local Elections.

Go arrived at the Buhangin Central Elementary School around 9 a.m. onboard his motorcycle.

The former aide of President Rodrigo Duterte had waited in line for three hours before he was able to vote inside his assigned precinct.

While waiting for his turn, Go was swarmed by his supporters who wanted to talk and take a picture with him.

Go, although a political neophyte, has been staying in top 12 in succeeding pre-election surveys. In the latest survey conducted by the Pulse Asia just days before the May 13 polls, Go ranked 3rd to 7th with a voting preference of 42 percent.

Go’s high preferential survey rankings were credited to Duterte’s all-out support for his Senate bid.

Aside from Go, other Davao City voters also patiently waited in long queues at polling precincts for their turn to vote.

Many of them waited under the hot sun after delays in voter’s registration verification and glitches in vote-counting machines marred the election. Other voters were also unable to find their names on the list of registered voters.

To address these concerns, a public assistance desk was put up to assist voters who have forgotten their precinct numbers or in need of help in casting their votes.

Thousands of voters were at the school grounds as early as 6 a.m. Election inspectors hope all voters will be able to cast their ballot before the voting closes at 6 p.m. (with details from Marisol Montaño)

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Peter Advincula faces another estafa complaint

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Friday, May 10th, 2019

Peter Joemel Advincula a.k.a Bikoy

MANILA, Philippines – An Albay-based businessman filed an estafa complaint against Peter Joemel Advincula, who earlier claimed to be ‘Bikoy’, before the Department of Justice (DOJ) on Friday.

Arven Valmores, President and CEO of Ardeur World Marketing Corp. alleged in his complaint that Advincula used the name and logo of his business – without his consent – to promote a beauty pageant in Polangui, Albay.

Valmores said Advincula and his business organization were a mere distributor of Ardeur’s products, without any employer-employee relationship.

The complainant added that Advincula did not attend the pageant’s coronation night in August 2018 and later disappeared leaving the winners’ prizes and staff salaries unpaid.

The businessman said he had to shell out more than P300,000 to cover the expenses of the pageant after the winners and staff sought redress.

Advincula earlier admitted that in 2012 he was imprisoned for six years for estafa after VitaPlus allegedly made him sign some documents. He was released in 2016 for “good behavior.”

Advincula alias Bikoy surfaced at the Integrated Bar of the Philippines on Monday to seek legal assistance to file complaints against presidential son Paolo Duterte and President Rodrigo Duterte’s long-time aide, Bong Go. His request was later rejected by the IBP.

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra had given Advincula an ultimatum: to come to the National Bureau of Investigation to submit evidence for his claims or face inciting to sedition charges over his online videos. (with details from Mai Bermudez)

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