UNTV EXCLUSIVE: Administering officer of Trillanes’ amnesty oath in 2011, surfaces

Marje Pelayo   •   September 7, 2018   •   4083

Colonel Josefa Berbigal


QUEZON CITY, Philippines – Colonel Josefa Berbigal, the officer who administered Senator Antonio Trillanes IV’s oath taking of the granted amnesty in 2011, surfaced at the Department of National Defense (DND) on Friday (September 7).

Berbigal was the chief of DND Ad Hoc Committee Secretariat when the oath-taking was administered.

She was called for an emergency meeting at the DND with Defense Undersecretary for Operations Cesar Yano, Undersecretary Toby Purisima, and Defense Legal Lawyer Ronald Patrick Rubin.

The officer, however, refused to divulge what transpired in the meeting.

According to Defense USec. Cesar Yano who was inside the meeting room, Berbigal relayed to the panel of officials the events that happened on the day of Trillanes’ oath-taking. Also, Berbigal was cited as saying she has no knowledge as to where Trillanes’ amnesty application has gone at this point.

Berbigal is still in active service as the current Head of the DND-AFP Office of Ethical Standard and Public Accountability (OESPA).

Meanwhile, AFP Spokesperson Col. Edgard Arevalo in a statement said they opt not to speak of the matter.

“The AFP is mindful that Sen. Trillanes IV has already filed his petition before the Supreme Court. We will defer commenting on the merits of the case in deference to the sub judice rule,” he said.

The DND, meanwhile, also preferred not to comment saying it “respects the judicial process and will defer to the decision of the court on the matter.”

Amid the tension, Arevalo discounted rumors of a divided military saying: “The AFP as an institution is united and committed to the chain of command and the rule of law.”

He added that in connection with Senator Trillanes: “The AFP is on the process of constituting the General Court Martial in compliance with the mandated task under Presidential Proclamation 572”. – Lea Ylagan / Marje Pelayo



Trillanes refutes Sabio’s allegations against him

Aileen Cerrudo   •   September 9, 2019

Former Senator Antonio Trillanes IV

Former Senator Antonio Trillanes IV has refuted Atty. Jude Sabio’s claims against him which include the allegation that the former senator is behind the “Ang Totoong Narco List” videos.

Sabio is Trillanes’ former lawyer. He is also the lawyer of self-confessed Davao Death Squad hitman Edgar Matobato.

In an open letter, Trillanes said Sabio had no personal knowledge about him being involved with Peter “Bikoy” Advincula.

“Hinala mo lang na malalim ito kasi sabi mo, kinukuha kita bilang abogado niya [Bikoy] (These are just speculations on your part because you said I was recruiting you to become Bikoy’s lawyer),” he wrote in his letter.

“Sa interview mo mismo ay sinabi mo na ang sabi ko sayo ay may ‘ibang handlers’ si Bikoy na nagpapahanap lang sila ng abogado niya. Hindi ba maliwanag iyon na I’m not directly involved with him? (In your interview you said that I told you Bikoy has ‘other handlers’ and that they are just looking for a lawyer for Bikoy. Isn’t that clear enough that I’m not directly involved with him?)” he added.

Sabio also claimed that Trillanes owed him P700,000 in lawyer’s fees. Trillanes responded he was not the one who requested for a billing.

“Maliwanag mismo sa interview mo na hindi ako ang nagpagawa sa’yo ng billing na iyan at hindi rin ako ang kliyente mo. Si Edgar Matobato ang kliyente mo at maliwanag sa ating lahat na pro bono ang engagement niyo, (It is clear during your interview that I did not request for that billing and I was not your client. Edgar Matobato was your client and it is clear to everyone that your engagement is pro bono) he wrote.

In 2017, Sabio filed a case against President Rodrigo Duterte and other high-ranking government officials before the International Criminal Court (ICC) for allegedly committing crimes against humanity in the Duterte administration’s war on drugs.—AAC

De Lima supporters launch committee for her freedom

Maris Federez   •   August 26, 2019

Supporters of Senator Leila de Lima on Monday launched the Committee for the Freedom of Leila De Lima.

This aims to intensify the public’s awareness on the senator’s condition as a prisoner of conscience.

The lawmaker has been in detention for more than two years for illegal drug-related cases.

“One important characteristic of this committee in what’s happening is were making this a non-partisan issue, of the freedom of Sen. Leila. Any ability to participate as a senator should not be about politics,” Prof. Tony La Viña, one of the conveners, said.

The group is supported by former President Benigno Aquino III who had once been a senator himself, as well as, six former members of the Senate, like senators Antonio Trillanes IV and Rene Saguisag.

The group is appealing for De Lima to be allowed to vote on proposed bills and resolutions, attend Senate sessions and public hearings from her cell at Camp Crame in Quezon City by way of teleconferencing.

The said measure was first proposed by then-Senator Nene Pimentel during President Gloria Magapagal’s term when Senator Trillanes was in detention.

It was not, however, approved by some senators during that time.

“Kaya noong nanalo na si President Aquino nagbago ang ihip ng hangin. Suddenly gumugulong ano, pinayagan. Pero sinesetup pa lang siya noong eventually pinayagan akong makalaya at mabigyan ng amnesty. So hindi na natuloy iyong mga ganoong paraan [So when President Aquino won the elections, the situation had changed. Suddenly it was approved. But they were still setting it up when I was eventually freed and given amnesty. So it did not push through],” Trillanes said.

The former lawmakers have also expressed support for Senate Resolution 51 filed by Senators Panfilo Lacson and Franklin Drilon that seeks to allow De Lima to attend sessions thru teleconferencing.

They said there are important issues that need the opinion of the minority in which De Lima belongs.

The lady senator is facing a case of conspiracy to commit illegal drug trading inside the New Bilibid Prisons while she was still the secretary of the Department of Justice. (from the report of Mai Bermudez) /mbmf

Alias Bikoy’s new allegations must bear strong evidence – Sen. Lacson

Maris Federez   •   May 23, 2019

Peter Joemel Advincula alias Bikoy

Senator Panfilo Lacson believes that Peter Joemel Advincula, alias Bikoy, must present strong evidence to back up his new allegations.

READ: Peter Joemel Advincula alias Bikoy surrenders to PNP

Lacson said it is now up to the Philippine National Police to investigate Bikoy’s allegations which now implicate Senators Antonio Trillanes IV and Risa Hontiveros.

Bikoy claimed that the two lawmakers are the ones behind him in his earlier statements accusing President Rodrigo Duterte and those close to him to be involved in the illegal drug trade.

Lacson said there is a serious problem on Bikoy’s credibility.

As a former law enforcement officer who has first-hand experience in intelligence gathering and investigation, Lacson said Bikoy’s mere statement is not enough.

“Bikoy has to show more than just a narration of what he says now as the real facts,” Lacson added.

The former PNP chief said Bikoy needs to present solid evidence to back up his claims against the personalities who, he claimed, have met with him several times.

“He suffers from a serious credibility problem that he must overcome if he wants to be believed this time. He can only do it by presenting solid and substantial proof of his alleged meetings and regular communication with the people that he is now turning the tables on,” Lacson said.

Meanwhile, in a statement made by Senator Trillanes, he denied the allegations made by Bikoy.

The statement reads, “I deny the allegations made by this Bikoy character. This could be another ploy of the administration to harass the opposition. For now, I will be consulting with my lawyers so that we could also file the appropriate charges against him.”

Senator Francis Pangilinan also released a statement repudiating Bikoy’s claims.

“Wala kaming ugnayan sa video at kay Bikoy. Kasinungalingan lahat ang mga paratang na yan. Gawa-gawa lang ng Administrasyon. Laging dinadamay ang LP sa mga ouster plot na gawa-gawa lang para pagtakpan ang mga palpak at kurakot sa Administrasyon,” Pangilinan said.

He added, “kahit ang pagpatay kay Rizal aaminin ng testigo na yan sa takot sa maaring gawin ng Administrasyon sa kanya o sa mga mahal niya sa buhay. Uulitin ko. Walang kinalaman ang LP sa Bikoy video. Kasinungalingan at gawa-gawa lamang ang mga paratang na ito.”

Otso Diretso candidate, Atty Chel Diokno also made a statement on Bikoy.

“Ang FLAG ay hindi abogado ni “Bikoy.” Inilapit sa FLAG ang kaso, pero tumanggi ang FLAG, kaya ang naging sagot namin ay sa IBP na lang siya lumapit. Karaniwan namang ginagawa ito ng mga abogado pag tumanggi silang tanggapin ang isang kaso,” the statement reads.

On the other hand, Cong-Elect Paolo Duterte, the first person named in the “Ang Totoong Narcolist”, has released a statement on Bikoy’s recent confession.

“From the very start, it was clear that the Bikoy videos were fabricated with a narrative taken straight from the playbook of people whose desire is to destroy our name and our reputation,” the new lawmaker said.

He added, “All the lies presented were also meant to crush the trust of the Filipino people in the authorities and inspire public disgust against the government — truly the handiwork of people who want to undermine the Duterte administration.”

The young Duterte said, “Without a doubt, as I have said before, Senator Antonio Trillanes was behind it. And now that many names have also surfaced, to include Sen. Risa Hontiveros and several lawyers, I believe a proper investigation is in order.”

Senator-elect Bong Go, another personality mentioned in the Bikoy video, also aired his opinion on this development.

“Hindi ko ikinagulat ang pagbaliktad ni Bikoy sa isang press conference ngayong umaga dahil alam ko sa simula pa lang na pawang kasinungalingan ang lahat ng sinabi niya laban sa kay Pangulong Duterte, sa kanyang pamilya at sa akin,” the new Senator said.

Go also said, “Nakakalungkot nga lang malaman na kung sino pa yung mga sinasabing ‘disente’ na nagmamalinis sa ating lipunan ay sila pa ang may pakana ng maruruming paninira sa kapwa tao.  Hindi ito ang uri ng pamumulitika na natutunan ko kay Pangulong Duterte. Hindi ito ang uri ng pamumulitika ng isang simpleng probinsyanong gaya ko na walang ibang hangad kundi pagserbisyuhan ang kapwa ko Pilipino.”

Go said that he has already forgiven Bikoy.

“Masakit ang ginawa ni Bikoy sa akin.  Sa kanyang mga kasinungalingan at paninira sa akin, pinapatawad ko si Bikoy bilang isang Kristiyano.  Subalit, bilang isang Pilipino, hahayaan ko ang ating mga otoridad na gawin ang kanilang katungkulan sa anumang pananagutan niya sa batas,” he added.

Go further said, “While I urge our authorities to respect all the constitutional rights of Bikoy, I must also say that the country needs to know the whole truth.  After all, the truth will set us free. May panahon din ito. Naniniwala ako na bilog naman ang mundo.”

Even Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio said her piece on Bikoy’s claims.

“Bikoy is a scam created by people who oppose the Duterte administration. This group is so disorganized they cannot even get to first base because the path to their objective is in disarray. Kung ako leader ng grupo na ito, I will shoot myself in the head, get rid of the brain that is not useful,” the local chief executive said.

Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Sec. Martin Andanar, meanwhile, also expressed his opinion on Bikoy.

“The turn of events have made this drama more interesting. Now its Bikoy’s words vs Sen. Trillanes and the Liberal Party’s. Im going to the grocery to buy popcorn,” said Andanar. (with details from Nel Maribojoc and Janice Ingente) /mbmf


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