PNP files sedition raps vs Leni, opposition, bishops

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PNP files sedition raps vs Leni, opposition, bishops

Evelyn Macairan (The Philippine Star) – July 19, 2019 – 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Police have filed sedition and other criminal complaints against Vice President Leni Robredo, several members of the Catholic clergy, all but one of the opposition senatorial candidates and other administration critics for their alleged role in making and spreading the six-part “Ang Totoong Narcolist” videos.

Aside from Robredo, also named in the complaint filed with the Department of Justice (DOJ) yesterday afternoon were Senators Leila de Lima and Risa Hontiveros, and former senators Antonio Trillanes IV and Paolo Benigno Aquino IV.

They were among the 35 respondents in the criminal complaint of sedition/inciting to sedition, cyber libel, libel, estafa and harboring a criminal/obstruction of justice filed by the Philippine National Police-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (PNP-CIDG)  represented by Lt. Col. Arnold Thomas Ibay.

Respondents also included Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines vice president Kalookan Bishop Pablo Virgilio David, former CBCP president Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas, Cubao Bishop Honesto Ongtioco, retired Novaliches Bishop Teodoro Bacani Jr., De La Salle University president Bro. Armin Luistro, Ateneo de Manila professor and Jesuit priest Albert Alejo and “running priest” Robert Reyes.

“Otso Diretso” senatorial candidates former Magdalo Rep. Gary Alejano, human rights lawyer Chel Diokno, former solicitor general Florin Hilbay, elections lawyer Romulo Macalintal, civic leader Samira Gutoc and former Quezon congressman Erin Tañada III were also listed as respondents. 

Former senator Mar Roxas was the only Otso Diretso senatorial candidate not included in the complaint.

Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) incumbent president Egon Cayosa and former president Abdiel Dan Elijah Fajardo, as well as former Supreme Court (SC) spokesman and member of the Free Legal Assistance Group (FLAG) Theodore Te were also mentioned as respondents.

Also in the list is former senior superintendent Eduardo Acierto.

Peter Joemel Advincula, who claims to be “Bikoy” in the narcolist videos, was listed as respondent and witness at the same time.

In the complaint, Advincula claimed that the respondents, particularly Trillanes and Alejo, used him to play the role of  “Bikoy” in the video presentation and spread lies against President Duterte, members of his family and some close friends.

The crime was allegedly committed at the Jesuit Communication Building on the Ateneo de Manila University campus in Loyola Heights in Quezon City between February and May this year.

The respondents, based on the complaint, “planned to spread false information against President Duterte’s family and administration officials in order to agitate the general population into making mass protest with the possibility of bringing down the President from the position and allow Vice President Robredo to instantly succeed.”

In the complaint, the PNP-CIDG said the  “spread of false information and accusation will also help bring down the popularity of the administration senatorial candidates and in turn boost the campaign of Otso Diretso candidates for the 2019 midterm elections.”

The respondents reportedly planned and funded the creation of the video, which they spread through social media.

The PNP-CIDG also informed the DOJ that its National Capital Region office is still investigating the case and that it has requested for copies of CCTV recording of incidents that could be related to the case.

In a statement, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said he would form a panel of state prosecutors to hear the complaint and conduct requisite preliminary investigation.