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‘Bikoy’ denies Sotto’s claims in new video

MANILA, Philippines — Peter Joemel Advincula, who claimed to be “Bikoy” in the videos linking President Rodrigo Duterte’s family to illegal drug operations, appeared in another video on Sunday, denying the claim of Senate President Vicente Sotto III that he had previously made the same allegations against former President Benigno Aquino III and several others.

Direct accusation

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In an 11-minute video message, Advincula reiterated that he was the hooded man known as Bikoy in the series of videos titled “Ang Totoong Narcolist” (The True Narcolist), which the President claimed was the handiwork of opposition Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV and the Magdalo group.

Wearing a checkered shirt similar to what he wore when he first surfaced in public last week, he maintained that he decided to speak out because he was bothered by his conscience and that nobody was behind him.

Unlike in his previous videos, Advincula this time directly accused Mr. Duterte of involvement in the narcotics trade.

“I reiterate that President Duterte and his family are involved in illegal drugs. His war on drugs is fake,” Advincula said in Filipino, apparently reading a prepared statement.

“I stand by what I mentioned in the series ‘The True Narcolist.’ These were included in my sworn affidavit, which was notarized,” he said.

“I swear before God and the people that what I revealed were all true. Those being accused of connection to me had nothing to do with this,” he said.

Did not seek Sotto’s help

Contrary to what Sotto claimed, Advincula said he did not seek the senator’s help to get him out of the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) since he was already due to be released in April 2017 after spending five years at the state penitentiary for his conviction over a large-scale illegal recruitment case.

In fact, he said the signature that appeared on the sworn affidavit that he supposedly gave Hutch Altavas, Sotto’s political officer, was not his and that the document was not notarized.

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But Sotto quickly dismissed Advincula’s explanation, saying he was just “making excuses” after he revealed how he supposedly tried to offer himself as a possible whistleblower against Aquino, former Interior Secretary Mar Roxas, detained opposition Sen. Leila de Lima, former Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala and several others.

“I suggest he come to us and tell us who told him to come out with those allegations,” Sotto told the Inquirer.

He said Altavas, who visited Advincula while he was serving time at the NBP in December 2016, had saved the exchange of text messages he had with Advincula.

“Hutch has all his text [messages] and even the visitor’s pass seeing him. All documented. It’s good if he is coming out so that his warrants of arrest can be served,” the Senate president added.

Sen. Panfilo Lacson, who had canceled the Senate hearing on Advincula’s allegations following Sotto’s revelations, said he personally asked Altavas if it was really Advincula who he had visited in the NBP.

“[H]e affirmed [the information] while saying it was a leaner Advincula [then],” Lacson said.
Stop Advincula from leaving

Meanwhile, airport immigration agents have been ordered to stop Advincula from leaving the country.

In giving the order, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra invoked Advincula’s outstanding arrest warrants issued by two regional trial courts (RTCs) in Benguet province 11 years ago for illegal recruitment and estafa.

He said even without a court hold departure order, the warrants were enough to cause Advincula’s arrest in case he was seen in international airports.

“We will make sure Mr. Advincula doesn’t go anywhere,” Guevarra said on Sunday.

The justice secretary has earlier threatened to charge Advincula with inciting to sedition if he does not turn himself in before before the National Bureau of Investigation and prove his accusations.

The Philippine National Police has also launched a manhunt against Advincula based on the outstanding arrest warrants.

Advincula was found to have two outstanding warrants in Benguet for similar cases.

Baguio City RTC Judge Ruben Ayson ordered Advincula’s arrest on Sept. 13, 2007, for illegal recruitment.

La Trinidad, Benguet, RTC Judge Delilah Gonzales-Muñoz also issued a warrant against Advincula in Sept. 26, 2007, for estafa.

See the bigger picture with the Inquirer's live in-depth coverage of the election here https://inq.ph/Election2019

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TAGS: 2019 elections, Bikoy, The True Narcolist, war on drugs
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