Palace denies hand in sedition case vs Robredo, others
MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang on Friday denied that the Duterte administration was behind the filing of the sedition complaint against Vice President Leni Robredo and 35 other individuals, including incumbent and former senators and priests, after they were tagged in the release of the “Ang Totoong Narcolist” videos.
“We have nothing to do with this case, not at all. Absolutely nothing,” presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo said in an interview over ABS-CBN News Channel.
Aside from Robredo, also named in the complaint are oppositionist Senators Leila de Lima and Risa Hontiveros, former Senators Bam Aquino and Antonio Trillanes IV, and members of the Otso Diretso slate — namely lawyers Chel Diokno, Romulo Macalintal, former Solicitor General Florin Hilbay, Samira Gutoc, and former lawmakers Erin Tañada and Gary Alejano.
Peter Joemel Advincula, who claimed to be “Bikoy,” the narrator in the six-part video series supposedly detailing the drug links of President Rodrigo Duterte and his family, is a respondent in the complaint.
Serving as his lawyer is losing senatorial candidate Larry Gadon, who was also instrumental in the ouster of former Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno.
Advincula first appeared at the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) office last May and admitted that he is the hooded narrator in the video. However, he later backtracked and claimed that the videos were part of a project allegedly to destabilize the Duterte administration and discredit its candidates in the May midterm elections.
According to Panelo, who is also Duterte’s chief legal counsel, it is “fallacious” to connect Gadon’s lawyering to the administration.
“Larry Gadon has nothing to do with us. Larry Gadon is a lawyer who takes clients. If he supported the President when he ran for the presidency, you cannot take that away from him. Pero ‘yung iko-connect mo ‘yung lawyering niya sa administrasyon, definitely it’s fallacious,” he explained.
Robredo has dismissed the charges as “kwentong kutsero” (hearsay) and mere harassment to opposition members. /muf
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