What happened then and now: Dissecting the twists and turns of ‘Bikoy’s’ tales
MANILA, Philippines – What started as a quiet Thursday turned controversial when it was confirmed that Peter Joemel Advincula, the self-confessed ‘Bikoy’ in “The Real Narcolist” videos that linked President Rodrigo Duterte’s family and allies to the illegal drug trade, resurfaced — this time with a totally different story.
After unmasking himself as the hooded man in the series of videos at the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) office in early May, Advincula surrendered to the Northern Police District on Wednesday and retracted his earlier claims.
From insisting that Duterte’s relatives and allies are involved in illegal drug trade, Advincula backtracked and claimed that the videos were lies orchestrated by the Liberal Party (LP) and Senator Antonio Trillanes IV.
Different story, but where’s the proof?
While Advincula recanted his earlier claims and cleared Duterte’s family and allies, Malacañang insisted that he substantiate his renewed claims against members of the opposition.
“He has to substantiate, he has to submit proof,” Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said, adding that Advincula needs to submit a sworn statement.
“People will always deny. We’d have to wait for Advincula to substantiate his charges. After that, let’s see. If there are charges to be filed in court, then the truth will come out,” Panelo added.
The Philippine National Police (PNP) said it will investigate the matter and that Advincula must be able to support his claims with evidence.
“All his revelations will be taken and will be thoroughly investigated. Kung makita na kahit sino man ay involved and may liability, then we will not hesitate to file cases,” PNP chief General Oscar Albayalde said.
“The burden of proof is on him. Wala po sa amin ‘yun. Whether paniwalaan siya o hindi, nasa taongbayan ‘yun. He came to us freely, nagvoluntary surrender siya at in-accept namin siya,” he added.
The Department of Justice (DOJ) echoed this and called for “a thorough investigation conducted by experts, following a rigorous legal process towards the ascertainment of the truth.”
“The Department then asked him to produce evidence to substantiate the serious allegations in those videos,” Justice Undersecretary and DOJ Spokesperson Markk Perete said.
“We reiterate the call today in light of his new revelations regarding his transactions with certain personalities in the production and dissemination of those videos and the equally serious implications of those revelations,” he added.
No truth behind the claims, just another diversionary tactic
Advincula said that the videos were released in a move to boost the senatorial bid of the opposition candidates under the Otso Diretso coalition and eventually unseat Duterte who will be replaced by Vice President Leni Robredo.
VP Leni’s side
Robredo, however, denied being involved in any move to overthrow Duterte.
“I will never be part of any destabilization [plot]… Waste of time iyong pagpaplano para pabagsakin iyong administrasyon,” Robredo said.
Robredo also questioned why Advincula’s claims were suddenly treated as credible when he recanted his allegations.
“Noong lumabas iyong mga videos na iyon, parang, shinoot-down na kaagad iyong credibility,” Robredo said.
“So ang hindi ko maintindihan, shinoot-down na iyong credibility, pero ngayon na oposisyon naman iyong inaakusahan niya, parang, all of a sudden credible siya ulit,” she added.
Opposition senator Risa Hontiveros echoed this sentiment: “And now, when he sings a different song and accuses the opposition of outlandish things, all of a sudden his credibility is restored? How absurd.”
Otso bets: Who’s “Bikoy”?
Otso Diretso senatorial candidates also denied knowing Advincula.
“It is easy to say that it is the LP. The LP has denied that it knows Advincula. Advincula should provide the evidence to prove his allegation,” LP official and Otso Diretso Senate candidate Erin Tañada said.
Both Magdalo party-list Rep. Gary Alejano and Marawi civic leader Samira Gutoc also denied knowing, let alone meeting, Advincula and echoed the call for evidence that would support his claims.
“But in every dark place, the light and the truth will always prevail,” Gutoc said.
Opposition senators were also quick to slam Advincula’s renewed claims.
Senate Minority Franklin Drilon, who servers as LP’s vice chairman, said the allegations are ridiculous and called for the Philippine National Police (PNP) to investigate and file appropriate charges.
“That the Liberal Party connived with an obviously professional con artist to topple the government is most absurd. It is ridiculous on so many levels. It’s excruciating to have listened to all his lies,” Drilon said.
Senators Antonio Trillanes IV and Risa Hontiveros, meanwhile, blamed the Duterte administration and said that Advincula’s renewed allegations are merely diversionary tactics.
“I deny the allegations made by this Bikoy character. This could be another ploy of the administration to harass the opposition,” Trillanes said.
Hontiveros echoed this, saying that the allegations are just “product of Malacanang’s wild imagination.”
“This is fanciful and another attempt by this administration to distract the public. Just like the President’s matrices, it is another product of Malacanang’s wild imagination,” Hontiveros said.
Senator Francis Pangilinan, who spearheaded Otso Diretso’s campaign, asked whether the government is hiding something that releasing another “lie” became necessary.
“Ano na naman kaya ang baho na tinatago ng administrasyon kaya inilabas ang mga kasinungalingang ito?” Pangilinan said.
‘Pulong’ calls for probe
Following Advincula’s decision to recant his initial claims, incoming Davao City Representative Paolo “Pulong” Duterte — one of those linked by “Bikoy” to the drug trade — said that the renewed claims involving Liberal Party and Trillanes must be probed.
“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 incoming congressman 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,” he added.
His sister, Sara, said “Bikoy” was merely a “fool” and “a scam” that was created by those 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,” Sara said.
“Bikoy” and credibility problems
Senator Panfilo Lacson, who chairs the Senate committee on public order, said he may reconsider calling a Senate inquiry on Advicula’s claims if he will be able to provide evidence.
Lacson, however, said that Advincula “suffers from a serious credibility problem”.
“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.
The history of “Bikoy”
Advincula first surfaced at the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) on May 6 and introduced himself as “Bikoy”, the hooded man in “The Real Narcolist” videos that accused President Duterte’s relatives and allies of being involved in illegal drug activities.
READ: ‘Bikoy’ unmasks himself
In the viral videos, Advincula claimed that he was a former member of a drug syndicate.
He showed transaction records of bank transfers to accounts supposedly owned by some of the President’s close allies and relatives.
Advincula also said a popular resort in Albay served as a venue for the illegal drug trade.
Despite Advincula’s decision to recant his claims and say that the video was merely a lie more than two weeks after he initially surfaced, a shareholder of the resort still filed a cyber libel complaint against him, as well as social media giants Facebook and YouTube for the “false, malicious and libelous accusations” in the video.
Businessman Elizaldy Co on Thursday said he is seeking over P1 billion in damages against Advincula and the social media giants for allowing their platform to be used to spread the deception.
After his press conference in Camp Crame on Thursday morning where he explained how Liberal Party and Trillanes spearheaded the release of the videos, Advincula went through booking procedures at the PNP Criminal Investigation and Detection Group for his standing warrants of arrest for estafa and large-scale illegal recruitment cases in Benguet province and Baguio City. (Editor: Gilbert S. Gaviola)
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.