VP Robredo, opposition senators react to sedition case
Marje Pelayo • July 19, 2019 • 2304
MANILA, Philippines – Vice President Leni Robredo, Senators Leila de Lima and Risa Hontiveros, and former Senators Antonio Trillanes IV and Bam Aquino reacted to the sedition case filed against them in relation to an alleged destabilization plot against President Rodrigo Duterte.
The complaint was filed by the Philippine National Police-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (PNP-CIDG) before the Department of Justice (DOJ) on Thursday (July 18).
Advincula originally appeared in a series of videos dubbed as “Ang Totoong Narcolist” linking some personalities from the opposition as behind the alleged ‘Project Sodoma’ or the ouster plot against the President.
He retracted his claims and resurfaced as one of the respondents and a witness of the CIDG.
“Ito na siguro iyong totoong hinihintay na pagkakataon. Ito na iyong laban. Dito na magkakaalaman kung sino iyong nagsasabi ng totoo, kung sino iyong nagsisinungaling, kung sino iyong manggagamit at kung sino iyong gumagamit ng mga tao para maghari iyong kagustuhan nila,” he said during the filing of complaint at the DOJ.
The CIDG filed charges of sedition, inciting to sedition, libel, cyber libel, estafa, harboring a criminal and obstruction of justice against Vice President Leni Robredo, Senators Leila de Lima and Risa Hontiveros, and Former Senators Antonio Trillanes IV and Bam Aquino.
Also among the respondents are officials of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, several lawyers, and clergymen who were allegedly involved in the destabilization plot.
“Napakaganda noong kaso, napakadaming ebidensya ako mismo hindi ko inasahan na ganoon pala karami iyong matitibay na ebidensya laban dito sa nasasangkot dito sa kaso na ito,” noted Atty. Larry Gadon who took on the case as Advincula’s legal counsel.
Detained Senator Leila de lima called the complaint “hogwash” and just a “piece of trash”.
“Hogwash. Basura pa iyan siguro kaysa sa mga isinampang kaso laban sa akin (Hogwash. It is probably more absurd than the cases filed against me),” she said during the arraignment of her illegal drug case at the Muntinlupa Court on Friday.
“The credibility of Bikoy is already down the drain. Siya iyong criminal. Siya iyong umamin na kriminal eh tapos siya iyong ginagamit ngayon ng CIDG laban sa tingin nila ay kumakalaban sa administrasyon (He is the criminal. He’s the one who admitted being a criminal. Now the CIDG is using him against those who they accused of betraying the government),” De Lima’s legal counsel Atty. Boni Tacardon said.
On his official social media page, Trillanes said: “The filing of cases against key members of the opposition are clear acts of political persecution and harassment by the Duterte administration meant to stifle democratic dissent.”
But Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra clarified that the DOJ is not a weapon for oppression or persecution.
“We shall go only by the evidence presented before us and we don’t care who gets indicted and who goes scot-free,” he said.
He added however that once probable cause is determined and a criminal case is filed in court, the DOJ will exert the full force of the law to secure a conviction.
Opposition lawyer Atty. Chel Diokno, meanwhile, accused the administration of rushing a conviction even without strong evidence against the accused.
“Luto ang kasong ito. Sabik na sabik ata ang administrasyon na ikulong kami, kahit walang basehan o ebidensiya. Bilang abogado para sa mahihirap, sanay na ako sa ganitong pangaapi. Tuloy ang laban natin para sa hustisya,” he said in a statement.
(This case is rigged. This administration can’t wait to put us behind bars despite the lack of basis or evidence. As a lawyer for the poor, I am used to these types of oppression. Our fight for justice continues.)
Hontiveros, meanwhile, said the complaint was nothing but “a badly-written telenovela.”
“Bad acting. Awful script. Terrible plot twist,” she said.
Robredo’s camp said they are yet to receive a copy of the complaint but knowing the background of the complainant, they were sure that it was “completely baseless and nothing more than plain and simple harassment.”
“Kwentong kutsero na pinilit gawing batayan sa kaso (they are forcing a tall tale to be the basis for a case),” Robredo’s legal counsel Atty. Barry Gutierrez concluded. – with reports from Mai Bermudez
The Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) said they are ready to arrest former Senator Antontio Trillanes IV and 10 others over conspiracy to commit sedition if they will not post bail.
“Unless they post bail, the accused will be arrested. But they are expected to post bail,” according to CIDG National Capital Region Chief PCol. Tom Ibay.
The Quezon City Metropolitan Trial Court Branch 138 has already released a warrant of arrest against Trillanes, Peter Joemel ‘Bikoy’ Advincula, and nine others.
Ibay said they are still waiting for the copy of the warrant before taking any action and in case they were not able to post bail.
The accused were charged due to the “Ang Totoong Narcolist” video that aimed to discredit President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration.
Meanwhile, Trillanes said he will post bail next week when he returns to the Philippines. The former senator also said he is ready to face any complaints filed against him.
“I am out of the country as of the moment for a series of engagements. But I intend to post bail once I arrive in Manila late next week. I will face this case just as I have faced all the other harassment cases Duterte’s minions have filed against me,” he said in a statement.—AAC (with reports from Lea Ylagan)
A protest group, Tindig Pilipinas, on Friday slammed the ongoing investigation of the Department of Justice (DOJ) on the sedition complaints against Vice President Leni Robredo and other members of the opposition.
Only the lawyers of VP Robredo and of the members of the opposition were present in the DOJ hearing.
The counsels of former senators Antonio Trillanes IV and Bam Aquino, as well as of Senator Risa Hontiveros and of Samira Gutoc, have also filed their own affidavits on the complaint.
They also appealed for the immediate dismissal of the complaint filed by the PNP-CIDG which the agency based on the sworn statement of Peter Joemel Advincula, alias Bikoy, on the alleged Project Sodoma which purportedly aimed at toppling down the Duterte administration.
Meanwhile, the Free Legal Assistance Group (FLAG) has also filed a countersuit against Advincula and the PNP-CIDG officials.
“We just filed a complaint affidavit for perjury and use of false testimony in an official proceeding against Col. Ibay of the CIDG and Peter Advincula alias Bikoy,” said FLAG’s Atty. Rafael Aquino. (with details from Nel Maribojoc) /mbmf
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 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.
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