Man claiming to be Bikoy asks help from IBP

Robie de Guzman   •   May 6, 2019   •   3769

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.

Senators mourn the passing of ex-DENR Sec. Gina Lopez

Robie de Guzman   •   August 19, 2019

Gina Lopez

MANILA, Philippines – Senators on Monday mourned the passing of former Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Gina Lopez.

In a statement, Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go said he is deeply saddened by the passing of Lopez, whom he called a “fearless advocate and a tireless philanthropist,” who dedicated “most her life for the betterment of her fellow Filipinos.”

Go added that Lopez’s “exceptional” dedication to protecting the environment has “no equal today.”

“I had the honor of working with her when she was the environment secretary of the Duterte Administration. As a former colleague in the government, I know how passionate, dedicated and humble she was as a public servant and as an Earth warrior,” he said in a statement.

“Ma’am Gina, taos-pusong pasasalamat po sa inyong hindi napapantayang serbisyo sa kapwa Pilipino. Isa kang katangi-tanging modelo ng tunay na pagmamalasakit sa kapwa tao. May your legacy continue for generations to come,” he added.

Senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel also expressed condolences and sympathies to the family and friends of the late DENR chief. He described Lopez as “a famous philanthropist and staunch children’s rights advocate.”

“I am saddened by the demise of such a great public servant and environmentalist as Gina Lopez. She will truly be remembered for her advocacies and contributions in the service of Filipinos,” Pimentel said.

“As the Filipinos mourn the untimely death of former Secretary Lopez, we also pray that her legacy lives on in every person and community her good heart has touched,” Pimentel added.

READ: Former DENR Secretary Gina Lopez dies at 65

Lopez passed away on Monday. She succumbed to multiple organ failure after battling brain cancer.

Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri recalled Lopez’s many efforts to preserve the environment and helping the aggrieved sectors of society especially poor children.

“Being the chief of the Pasig River Rehabilitation Commission is just one of the many tasks she carried out well as part of our government. She brought her environmental activism into every Filipino home in her travels around our beautiful archipelago,” he said in a statement.

Zubiri also expressed admiration for Lopez’s causes and for her grace and sublime courage with which she faced the pains of her sickness.

“She walked her talk, be it in defense of helpless children or displaced communities, or in nursing back to life polluted waters or ravaged forests,” he said.

“While in government, her habit of speaking the inconvenient truth to power was actually a strength, and not a character flaw in a bureaucracy straitjacketed by niceties. Though her stint was cut short, Gina was a great ‘secretary of defense of our natural resources’,” he added.

Senator Francis Pangilinan also said many will remember the late environmentalist as “a woman of courage” and a “firebrand,” who pushed for her environmental and child protection advocacies without fear and hesitation.

“She was all that. In or out of government, her life was about tireless creativity for all our collective future, through our children and our environment,” he added.

Senator Sonny Angara likewise paid tribute to Lopez, describing her as a “one-person green warrior” who took her “selfless” fight for environment protection to “where it matters.”

“She spent a lifetime pouring her considerable talents in bringing to the mainstream the powerless and the voiceless who exist forgotten in the margins of society. She fought for children who were incapable of seeking justice and care for themselves and eloquently spoke for the people in the communities whose voices have been crushed by exploitation,” Angara said.

“She was a one-person green warrior who took the fight to where it matters – in boardrooms, chatrooms, government offices, and in her favorite office – out in the open, under a forest canopy or underwater, where she was in her element with people she loved in a country she never gave up hope on,” he added.

Angara also stated that Lopez’s passing has “left us a bucket list to comply with and follow.”

Senator Grace Poe, meanwhile, thanked Lopez for her efforts to protect the environment.

“Sec. Gina Lopez came in our midst and taught us love for mankind and the environment, our common home. Thank you for touching our lives in your impassioned way,” Poe said in a statement.

Bong Go wants law penalizing prank callers

Robie de Guzman   •   August 7, 2019

Senator Christopher Bong Go. PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines – Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go has filed a bill seeking to penalize prank callers using emergency hotlines.

Under Senate Bill No. 400 or the Anti-Prank Callers Act of 2019, Go defined a prank call as “a mischievous or malicious telephone call made to trick or fool someone with the intention to annoy, abuse, threaten, harass, or solicit any comment,” or a call intending to make false alarm of an emergency, knowing the report or information to be false.

Go said emergency hotlines should not be misused and abused as these are being used to improve public safety and to facilitate a prompt deployment of emergency hotlines.

The senator noted that President Rodrigo Duterte earlier issued Executive Order No. 56 to institutionalize the Emergency 911 Hotline as the nationwide emergency hotline number for people needing assistance in emergency situations.

Upon the activation of emergency hotline nationwide in 2018, the dispatcher had received 2,475 calls that day, but only 75 of the calls were legitimate and about 300 were prank calls.

“By its very nature and purpose, calls accommodated by the emergency 911 should only be for legitimate and immediate emergency concerns. There is no room for mischievous or malicious calls as the time spent in answering these prank calls may spell the difference in saving the life of someone in dire need of help,” Go said in a statement.

The bill proposes the imposition of fine and imprisonment for those who make mischievous and malicious calls to emergency hotlines.

For the first offense, violators shall be penalized with an imprisonment of one day to 30 days and a fine of P5,000.

For the second offense, violators shall be penalized with an imprisonment of one month and one day to six months and a fine of P10,000.

For the third and succeeding offenses, any violator would face six months and one day to six years imprisonment and a fine of P20,000.

Go’s bill also stated that “all acts and decrees, executive orders implementing rules and regulations or parts thereof, inconsistent with the provisions of this act are hereby repealed, amended or modified accordingly.”

According to the lawmaker, the prohibition against prank calls is actually not new.

Under Presidential Decree No. 1727 issued in 1980, dissemination of false information “or the willful making of any threat concerning bombs, explosives or any similar device” has been declared unlawful.

The decree also stated that making prank calls in the wake of recent bombings, arsons, and other terroristic acts committed by radicals and other lawless elements in the country is illegal.

The offense carries imprisonment of not more than five (5) years, or a fine of not more than forty thousand pesos (₱40,000.00) or both at the discretion of the court having jurisdiction over the offense herein defined and penalized.

‘Bikoy’ files for witness protection program

Aileen Cerrudo   •   August 5, 2019

Peter Joemel Advincula alias Bikoy

Peter Joemel Advincula, alias Bikoy, has formally applied for the witness protection program of the government on Monday (Aug 5).

Advincula along with his lawyer, Atty. Larry Gadon went to the Department of Justice (DOJ) to submit their application.

READ: DOJ summons Robredo, 35 others over sedition raps

Their camp expects that the application will be approved as soon as possible especially when the preliminary investigation for the inciting to sedition complaint is set to begin on Friday.

Advindula has filed the said case against Vice President Leni Robredo and other opposition members.

According to Gadon, Advincula’s life is in danger since he stood up against big and influential individuals.

“Marami siyang nare-receive na deaths threats. Alam kasi nila iyong cell number ni Peter and alam nila iyong emails so talagang nakaka-receive siya (He receieve a lot of death threats. They know Peter’s cell number and they also know his emails so he does receive threats),” he said.

Advincula already paid a fine for his cyberlibel case on July 31. His camp will also file a supplemental affidavit on August 9 to clarify the inconsistencies in the statement he filed at the DOJ and the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG).—AAC (with reports from Mai Bermudez)

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