Man claiming to be Bikoy asks help from IBP

Robie de Guzman   •   May 6, 2019   •   4597

Peter Joemel Advincula (right) at a press briefing claiming to be the hooded “Bikoy” (left) in the viral videos.

MANILA, Philippines – A man claiming to be ‘Bikoy’ in the video series entitled “Ang Totoong Narcolist” surfaced on Monday (May 6) to seek legal aid from the Integrated Bar of the Philippines.

At a press briefing, he identified himself as Peter Joemel Advincula, a former marketing executive of a Bicol-based company he said is called VitaPlus.

Advincula said he surfaced to ask legal assistance from the IBP to file charges against presidential son Paolo Duterte, former Special Assistant to the President and Senatorial candidate Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go and Lawyer Manases Carpio, the husband of Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio.

“Ako po si Peter Joemel Advincula, mas kilala ninyo sa pangalang BIKOY. Ako po ay tunay na tao, at hindi kathang isip lang tulad ng sinasabi ng ibang tao,” he said as he read his statement before the media at the IBP headquarters in Ortigas.

“Nandito ako ngayon sa tanggapan ng IBP upang humingi ng legal assistance. Kailangan ko ng abogado para i-submit ang aking sinumpaang salaysay at tulungan akong magsampa ng kaso laban sa mga miyembro ng sindikato na pinangalanan ko sa video seryeng “ANG TOTOONG NARCOLIST,” he added.

In a video series uploaded online, Bikoy claimed that he was a former member of a drug syndicate operating in Luzon. He also accused Paolo Duterte of funneling drug money in bank accounts supposedly owned by Carpio’s brother, Agriculture Assistant Secretary Waldo Carpio.

‘Bikoy’, the hooded figure in the clips, also claimed in the video that both Duterte and Go had tattoos on their backs of a dragon-like figures and alphanumeric codes of their supposed bank accounts for their dealings with drug syndicates.

On Monday, Advincula also claimed that Go and Duterte had back tattoos, having scanned them personally.

“Bahagi po ng gawain ng aming team ay ang pag-scan ng mga codes na nakaukit sa tattoo ng mga senior members ng sindikato tulad nina Paolo Duterte at Bong Go. Pinapadala ito sa financial controller ng sindikato nan aka-base sa Hong Kong upang ma-validate ang mga transaksyon,” he added.

“Ilang beses din na ako mismo ang nag-iiscan ng code sa tattoo ni Bong Go, kaya tinitiyak ko po sa inyo na may dragon tattoo siya pati na rin si Paolo Duterte,” he stated.  

Go recently bared his back to refute the allegation while the younger Duterte refused to take off his shirt to show he has no tattoo. Duterte also denied receiving kickbacks from drug syndicates.

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

READ: Paolo Duterte denies receiving kickbacks from drug syndicates

Advincula also stressed in his statement that he is not linked to any political party or media institutions accused of planning to destabilize the government. He also denied any connection with Rodel Jayme, who was recently arrested for allegedly uploading the videos.

Jayme admitted to creating the website that hosted the Bikoy videos but denied uploading the clips. Jayme also said that some supporters of the opposition Liberal Party tapped him to make the website, which the latter denied.

READ: Rodel Jayme denies knowledge of uploaded ‘Bikoy’ videos

“Wala akong kaugnayan sa kahit kaninong kandidato, lalo na sa mga kandidato ng Otso Deretso, o political party. Wala din akong kaugnayan sa mga media personalities at institusyon na pinangalanan ni Pangulong Duterte sa kanyang matrix. At hindi ko din po kilala si Rodel Jayme na sinasabing nag upload ng mga video, at lahat ng mga taong pinangalalan niya,” Advincula said.

“Nag-desisyon akong lumabas dahil una – meron banta sa aking buhay. Ikalawa – dahil sa tawag ng konsyensya,” he added.

He also named in his statement a certain Tess Rañola as his former boss who got him into a drug network in 2010 where he allegedly became privy to alleged drug dealings of Go and Duterte.

“Nuong Pebrero ng 2010, inilipat ako ng boss ko na si Tess Rañola, sa Operations Center ng sindikato bilang control man ng radio base at CCTV operations ng Underground Facilities sa Misibis Bay. Kinalaunan, nalipat ako sa Transmitting and Facilitating Team. Kami ang naghahanda ng monthly Tara – isang internal document ng sindikato. Ito po yung dokumentong ipinakita ko sa video serye,” he said.

Rañola, who was also named in Bikoy’s narco videos, had filed a complaint in the National Bureau of Investigation that was followed by the arrest of Jayme.

According to Advincula, he was jailed in 2012 for six years for estafa after VitaPlus allegedly made him sign some documents. He was released in 2016 for “good behavior.”

In August 2018, he said he went into hiding after Bong Go allegedly recognized him at a company event that the latter was invited to attend. It was also then that he decided to divulge all information he knows about the syndicate.

Advincula ended his statement with an appeal to pray for his safety.

“Handa po akong humarap sa ano mang imbestigasyon ng Senado upang patotohanan ang lahat ng inilabas ko sa video serye. Hiling ko lang sa bawat mamayang Pilipino ang inyong panalangin para sa aking kaligtasan at sa kinabukasan ng ating bayan,” he said.

Advincula then left the press briefing after reading his statement.

Meanwhile, IBP national president Abdiel Fajardo said they did not organize the press conference. He also stressed that Advincula appeared at their office seeking for legal assistance.

Fajardo further said that they have yet to accept Advincula as a client and that his application would still have to be validated by IBP’s National Center for Legal Aid.

Go pushes gov’t aid for live events workers amid COVID-19 crisis

Robie de Guzman   •   June 17, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go has called on the government to also provide support for displaced workers heavily affected by the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) crisis, especially those in industries that cannot resume operations due to social distancing and community quarantine measures.

In a statement in Tuesday, Go said workers engaged in live events, entertainment industry, as well as those engaged in businesses that cannot operate at this time, must be given utmost attention by the government.

“Dahil sa COVID-19, may mga industriya talagang hindi makapag-operate ngayon. Bawal ang pagtitipon kaya tulad nung mga nasa live events organizing, kailangan maghanap ng ibang pagkakakitaan,” he said.

“Bukod pa diyan, ang mga tao sa entertainment industry ay apektado rin po, lalong lalo na ‘yung ordinaryong manggagawa tulad nung parte ng mga production crew bilang halimbawa. Ito po ‘yung mga kababayan nating bumubuhay sa industriya ng sining na ngayon ay hirap makabalik sa kabuhayan nila,” he added.

The live events industry consists of events, like meetings, conferencing, exhibitions, concerts involving international and local artists, theatrical productions, corporate, social, cultural, fashion, sporting, and club events, weddings and family celebrations, trade fairs and exhibits, and on-ground activation and sampling activities.

“Tulungan nating mapagaan ang pinapasan ng mga nasa ganitong uri ng industriya. Wala pong dapat mapabayaan sa panahon ngayon,” Go added.

The senator also expressed hope that once the health situation improves and the spread of COVID-19 is under control, more provinces and cities under modified general community quarantine can provide guidelines for these industries to resume operations in accordance with health protocols.

Go, former long-time aide of President Rodrigo Duterte, also urged the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), the Department of Labor and Employment, and other concerned agencies to look into the situation of and provide assistance programs for the displaced workers.

He also suggested events businesses to avail of emergency loans and financing program for micro, small and medium enterprises.

The DTI is presently implementing COVID-19 Assistance to Restart Enterprises (CARES) program under the Pondo sa Pagbabago at Pag-asenso (P3) program, which aims to help enterprises stabilize or recover from losses due to the health crisis.

The National Live Events Coalition (NLEC) recently appealed for government assistance for their members, highlighting that the live events industry, comprised of businesses and industry professionals, institutions, agencies, technical and staging providers, concert and festival producers, wedding and social events planners, venues, performers and freelance production workforce, have faced lost opportunities and revenues due to COVID-19.

Live events organizing is a multi-billion industry that provides employment to several thousands. The NLEC said the industry is composed of 30,000 MSMEs.

Some MSMEs related to the industry may have to close down or operate only at 10% capacity.

Although the live events industry is not specified in the latest Senate version of the proposed Bayanihan to Recover as One Act, Go is urging the administration’s economic managers to look into the matter and explore more opportunities for the government to extend help to this sector in these trying times.

“May mga provisions sa Senate version ng Bayanihan to Recover as One Act (Bayanihan 2) para sa mga subsidies, loan programs at iba pang social assistance na pwedeng makatulong sa mga empleyado ng ganitong industriya,” Go said.

Go renews push for OFW department amid COVID-19 crisis

Robie de Guzman   •   May 15, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go on Friday reiterated his call for the establishment of the proposed Department of Overseas Filipino Workers (DOFW) amid challenges posed by the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) to migrant workers.

In a statement, Go said that the COVID-19 pandemic has negatively affected the world economy, resulting in significant losses of jobs for Filipinos abroad.

Go has been pushing for the creation of a department that will manage the welfare and address concerns of OFWs.

“Noon pa lamang ay marami nang mga issues ang kinakaharap ng ating mga kababayang nagtatrabaho abroad. Ang paglipat-lipat ng ahensya ay naging pabigat na proseso sa kanila mula sa pagkuha ng kanilang mga permit, hanggang sa pagbigay ng tulong para maresolba ang mga problemang hinaharap nila sa ibang bansa,” he said.

“Mas lumala pa ngayon dahil sa hirap na dulot ng COVID-19 crisis. Kung mayroon pong DOFWs, mas mapapadali sana ang koordinasyon ng mga ahensya at may iisang departamento na tututok sa mga pangangailangan nila,” he added.

Go filed a bill seeking for the establishment of OFW department in 2019. The House of Representatives has passed its version in March this year while its Senate counterpart remains pending in the committee on labor, employment and human resources development.

His proposed Senate Bill 202 or the Department of Overseas Filipinos Act of 2019 proposes to put government agencies dealing with OFW affairs under one umbrella.

The measure also aims to address perennial issues, such as the need to ease the coordination among offices concerned with OFW affairs; immediate legal assistance to OFWs in distress; lack of full migration cycle approach in promoting migrant’s rights from pre-employment, onsite and reintegration services; and lack of shared database system that contains all information of all OFWs to aid in tracking their status and fast track delivery of assistance to distressed workers.

Currently, services and information about OFWs are scattered throughout several offices.

“Madaming dinadaanan pang iba’t ibang ahensya bago makaresponde ang gobyerno sa mga OFWs na humihingi ng saklolo. Iba-iba ang concern, iba-iba ang kailangang lapitan pa mula DFA, OWWA, MARINA, at iba pa,” Go said.

“Nalilito ang ating mga OFWs sa pangkasalukuyang sitwasyon. Sa oras na kailangan nila ng saklolo, hindi na nila alam sino dapat lapitan kaya sa media o Facebook sila nananawagan,” he added.

If a department for OFWs will be created, Go said this will make government more efficient and responsive to the concerns of Filipinos abroad.

“If mayroon na tayong department for OFWs, iisa na lang ang lalapitan at iisa na lang ang makikipag-coordinate na departamento. Magiging mas maayos ang pagresponde sa mga krisis at mas mabilis nating matutulungan ang ating mga kababayang humihingi ng saklolo,” he stressed.

The lawmaker stressed that the challenges currently faced by OFWs and the difficulties experienced by the government in responding to their needs show the relevance of the proposal to establish a department with a sole mandate to handle the concerns of our “modern day heroes”.

“Nakita po natin ang mga pagsubok na pinagdaraanan ng ating mga OFWs dahil sa COVID-19. Napapanahon na talaga para magtatag tayo ng departamento upang mas maprotektahan ang kanilang kapakanan,” Go said.

OFWs displaced by the public health emergency have been repatriated to the country through flights facilitated by the Department of Foreign Affairs.

The Overseas Workers Welfare Administration and the Department of Labor and Employment have extended assistance to qualified OFW beneficiaries under the government’s livelihood and other assistance programs.

The Maritime Industry Authority, for its part, is implementing its Seafarers Uwi Pamilya program where seafarers stranded in Metro Manila are assisted in going home to their families in the provinces, subject to quarantine and other health protocols.

IBP offers free legal aid amid COVID-19 community quarantine

Robie de Guzman   •   April 7, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) has offered to provide free online legal assistance to the public amid the Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine against novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

In a Facebook post on Monday, the national organization of lawyers said it will give free legal advice to those who have concerns related to the enforcement of the community quarantine.

“Kabilang nito ang mga katanungan na may kinalaman sa pag-aresto kaugnay ng curfew, diskirminasyon sa mga health workers, at iba pa,” the IBP said.

The agency said questions and messages may be sent to its official Facebook page at 𝗳b.𝗰𝗼𝗺/𝗜𝗕𝗣𝗡𝗮𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻𝗮𝗹𝗖𝗲𝗻𝘁𝗲𝗿𝗳𝗼𝗿𝗟𝗲𝗴𝗮𝗹𝗔𝗶𝗱 or via email at 𝗹𝗲𝗴𝗮𝗹𝗮𝗶𝗱@𝗶𝗯𝗽.𝗽h or via text 𝟬𝟵𝟬𝟲𝟬𝟳𝟵𝟵𝟮𝟮𝟲 (Atty. Eric C. Alajar).

The IBP earlier called out undue discrimination against medical personnel and other workers on the frontline of the COVID-19 fight, as well as individuals who showed symptoms and tested positive for the virus.

It urged the public not to succumb to fear that diminishes humanity, and to show support for the victims and frontliners amid the public health crisis.

“Precautionary measures are understandable and desirable but they should remain reasonable and within the bounds of law,” IBP National President Atty. Domingo Egon Cayosa said in a separate statement.

The Magna Carta of Patient’s Rights and Obligations, Magna Carta of Public Health Workers, and other laws or regulations remain effective and must temper and guide the actions and initiatives of everyone,” he added.

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