Robredo: Can Bikoy be admitted into witness protection program?
MANILA, Philippines — Can “Bikoy” be admitted into the government’s witness protection program like a whistleblower?
This was raised by Vice President Leni Robredo on Thursday, saying that the government should check on Bikoy’s accusations that President Rodrigo Duterte’s close relatives and allies are involved in the drug trade.
“‘Di ba dapat, kasi parang whistleblower din siya? Hindi ba dapat bigyan ng proteksyon para malaman kung totoo o hindi ang sinasabi? Kasi hindi naman natin, wala naman tayong way of knowing kung totoo o hindi,” she told reporters in Sorsogon.
(He should be considered a whistleblower, right? He should be given protection so we will know if he is telling the truth. We have no way of knowing if he is telling the truth or not.)
“Mayroon siyang mga sinasabing mga — iyong first pa lang iyong napanood ko —pero may sinasabi siyang mga bank accounts. Bakit hindi tingnan kung totoo? Kasi ano lang naman eh, madali naman i-check iyon,” the Vice President urged.
(He was saying something about bank accounts? Why don’t we look into that if it is true? It should be easy to check that.)
Under Section 3 of R.A. 6981 or the Witness Protection, Security and Benefit Act, any person who has certain knowledge or information about a crime and who may testify, is testifying, or has testified before any judicial or quasi-judicial body can be given state protection. Provided, the case involved is a grave felony under the Revised Penal Code, and that the witness or any relative is threatened.
According to Robredo, there is no harm in investigating Bikoy’s claims.
“Kung hindi totoo, eh ‘di gustong sabihin, nagsisinungaling iyong Bikoy (If it is not true, then it means Bikoy is lying),” she insisted.
In a series of videos uploaded on social media, Bikoy, who claims to have worked for drug syndicates, said two of Duterte’s children — former Davao City Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte and Veronica “Kitty” Duterte — were involved in the drug trade.
He also claimed that former presidential aide and senatorial aspirant Bong Go is part of the syndicate, including lawyer Mans Carpio, husband of Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, and other politicians and business people from the Bicol region.
Members of the Duterte family have denied the accusations, with Go even showing his back to disprove claims that he has a tattoo, which is supposedly a sign of his membership in the syndicate.
Earlier, a national broadsheet reported that “Bikoy” has been arrested by operatives from the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), but the Department of Justice clarified that only the uploader of the video was arrested, not Bikoy himself.
The Philippine National Police (PNP) said it will track down Bikoy, who may face cyberlibel charges. /ee
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