Sotto reveals similarities in Bikoy’s claims in 2016, 2019

Maris Federez   •   May 8, 2019   •   2305

Senate President Vicente Sotto III revealed on Wednesday that Patrick Joemel Advincula had gone to his office in 2016 to give information against Former President Benigno Aquino III and his then cabinet members.

Sotto presented a matrix of Advincula’s separate sworn statements when he went to his office in 2016 and when he went to the Integrated Bar of the Philippines on May 6.

Based on his statement in 2016, Advincula implicated Aquino and several cabinet members in illegal drugs trade.

“Doon sa mga patron na sinasabi niya, makikita ninyo listahan na may mga code, code pa sýa [The patrons he was referring to, you would see a list that has codes]. In the list, Elizalde Co, former President Benigno Aquino, former DILG Secretary Mar Roxas, former DOJ Secretary Leila de Lima, Teresita Raniola, Congressman Fernando Gonzales, Congressman Luis Villafuerte at [and] Thomas Enrile.  Ito ‘yung mga patron ng Quadrangle Syndicate [These are the patrons of Quadrangle Syndicate],” Sotto said.

According to the Senate president, several names mentioned in Advincula’s statement in 2016 were also mentioned in his statement at the IBP.

Sotto, however, added that this time, it was former Davao City Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte, Attorney Manases Carpio and former Special Assistant to the President Bong Go whom Advincula was prominently implicating to the narcotics trade.

Sotto also said that back in 2016, his office even checked the bank account that Advincula claimed was where the syndicate deposited drug money, which the bank then vehemently denied.

The senator added that Advincula changed his statement when his staff questioned him about the bank’s denial of the account.

“Ang kwento niya, pasensya na, Sir, naglihim ako sa  inyo at natatakot na rin ako sa seguridad ko. Di ko sa iyo sinabi noong una ang tunay na strategies nila sa pagdeposit ng pera sa China. Malinis ang sindikato dito. Ang lahat ng deposit account nila ay QNBC,” according to Hutch Altavas, Senator Sotto’s political assistant.

The senator added, “yung QNBC, yung dinescribe niya, pinatanong namin. Ang sabi Quill Net Banking Corporations ng HSBC. Tinanong ko rin yung sa HSBC yun, sabi niya theres no such thing.”

Sotto said this was why his office did not take Advincula’s claim seriously.

The senator even said that Alias Bikoy’s latest claim has now, for him, become dubious as he just changed some details from his 2016 story.

“So perhaps the best thing again to learn from this lesson, perhaps a good lesson to IBP and religious sector na huwag basta basta ika nga e patol nang patol sa mga ito,” the Senate President said. – Maris Federez

IBP vows cooperation, hopes for faster resolution of cases under CJ Peralta

Robie de Guzman   •   October 24, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – The Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) has welcomed the appointment of Diosdado Peralta as the country’s new Chief Justice, saying this honors the tradition of seniority in the Supreme Court.

In a statement, IBP national president Domingo Cayosa said Peralta served the longest as Associate Justice of the Supreme Court among the three aspirants shortlisted by the Judicial and Bar Council.

Peralta replaced former chief justice Lucas Bersamin, who retired last week after reaching the mandatory retirement age of 70.

Cayosa expressed hope that the judiciary will resolve cases “much faster” under the leadership of newly-installed top magistrate.  

“We are hopeful that under his leadership the judiciary will resolve cases much faster inasmuch as his 25 years as magistrate are notable for speedy disposition of cases and innovations to expedite court processes,” he said.

He also vowed that the IBP will work and cooperate with Peralta to achieve “Justice Bilis.”

Born in Laoag City, Ilocos Norte, Peralta started his career in government service when he was appointed Third Assistant City Fiscal in 1987 then went on to become a trial court judge and later a Sandiganbayan Justice before he was appointed to the Supreme Court in 2009.

Prior to his SC appointment, he was a professor, lecturer, resource person, and Bar reviewer in Criminal Law, Criminal Procedure, Remedial Law, and Trial Techniques in various universities.

He is an alumnus of the University of Santo Tomas Faculty of Civil Law.

Peralta will be sitting as the chief magistrate until he retires at the age of 70 on March 27, 2022.

Robredo counters inciting to sedition complaint, denies meeting with ‘Bikoy’

Robie de Guzman   •   August 29, 2019

Vice President Leni Robredo filed her counter-affidavit for the sedition case filed against her on Thursday, August 29, 2019, at the Department of Justice in Manila. VP Leni signed her counter-affidavit and swore under oath before DOJ Senior Assistant State Prosecutor Olivia Torrevillas. (Photo by Charlie Villegas / OVP)

MANILA, Philippines – Vice President Leni Robredo on Thursday (August 28) denied allegations she met Peter Joemel Advincula, who accused the former of being behind the online videos linking the Duterte family to narcotics trade.

In her counter-affidavit in relation to inciting to sedition complaint filed against her by the Philippine National Police Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (PNP-CIDG), Robredo maintained she did not take part in an alleged destabilization plot against the Duterte administration, through a meeting supposedly held at the Ateneo de Manila University on March 4, 2019.

Robredo filed her counter-affidavit at the Department of Justice, personally appearing to sign it under oath before Justice Senior Assistant State Prosecutor Olivia Torrevillas. She was accompanied by her lawyer, Marlon Manuel.  

Along with her counter-affidavit, Robredo also provided photos, news reports and other documentation to prove that she was in Bulacan on March 4 for official engagements.

Advincula, who claimed to be the hooded figure ‘Bikoy’ in the online “Ang Totoong Narco List” video series, earlier said the videos were orchestrated by the opposition Liberal Party under the guidance of Senator Antonio Trillanes III.

He said he met with Robredo and other opposition members in March to discuss “Project Sodoma” – an alleged plot to oust Duterte.

He also accused Robredo and other opposition members of forcing him to speak lies about the Duterte family’s supposed links to the narcotics trade.

Robredo and other opposition figures have earlier denied Advincula’s claims.

Robredo said the evidence she submitted to the DOJ will prove that Advincula’s allegations were “impossible” and an “outright lie”.

She also slammed the statement made by the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG), acting as counsel to the PNP-CIDG in an Omnibus Comment it filed earlier, which erroneously insisted that she “repeatedly met” with Advincula.

This, Robredo noted, “directly contradicts” the allegation the witness-respondent made in his Sinumpaang Salaysay.

OSG’s claims, she said, clearly “underscores that the purported charges are aimed at hounding and oppressing me simply because I am perceived as critical of the current administration.”

“The false and perjurious Sinumpaang Salaysay and the Letter-Complaint should be viewed with the highest degree of caution and suspicion not only because of the unreliable nature of the allegations as discussed above, but because of the very nature of the charges itself,” Robredo’s counter-affidavit read.

“It has been held that ‘[s]edition is the crime usually resorted to by tyrants as a pretext to silence or suppress those persons who have the firmness of character to oppose them and expose their abuses.’”

Atty. Manuel noted that there are no other allegations stated against the Vice President, and that the charges were based solely on Advincula’s Sinumpaang Salaysay.

“Isa lang iyong paragraph na nag-aakusa sa kaniya ng isang gawain na diumano ay isang krimen. May pitong krimen na isinama doon sa reklamo laban sa kaniya at iyon ang isinagot namin at pinatunayan namin na kasinungalingan—iyong nakalagay doon sa counter-affidavit na siya ay dumalo sa isang diumano ay pagpupulong sa Ateneo na ginawa noong March 4,” he told reporters after the filing.

“Wala nang ibang ebidensya. And as far as the Vice President is concerned, it’s just that one paragraph that accuses her of a direct action—and that is a complete falsehood,” he added.

‘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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