SolGen on ‘Bikoy’ affidavit: PNP-CIDG is our client
MANILA, Philippines — The Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) on Wednesday issued a statement regarding the controversy over an affidavit by Peter Joemel Advincula, in connection with the government’s sedition case against Vice President Leni Robredo, other opposition leaders as well as clergy and lawyers.
“By law, the OSG is the principal lawyer of the Republic of the Philippines and all its agencies and departments, which includes among others, the PNP-CIDG (Philippine National Police-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group). It is the OSG’s legal duty to serve its clients when they seek legal advice,” it said in a statement on Wednesday.
“The PNP-CIDG is our client, not Bikoy. Bikoy has his own private lawyer,” the OSG also said, referring to Advincula, the confessed “Bikoy” behind the video series against the Duterte administration who is now the government’s lone witness in the sedition case against Robredo and other members of the opposition.
“Hence, as lawyers, we cannot divulge details or information about the specifics of this case,” the OSG said.
The PNP-CIDG on July 18 filed in the Department of Justice the sedition complaint as well as charges of inciting to sedition, cyberlibel, libel, estafa, harboring a criminal and obstruction of justice against Robredo and the others.
ABS-CBN reported that two lawyers of the OSG authored and reviewed the affidavit. Advincula’s lawyer Lorenzo Gadon has forwarded to the media a digital copy of Advincula’s sworn statement.
Earlier on Wednesday, before the OSG issued its statement, Gadon denied that OSG members were present when his client prepared his sworn statement.
“The OSG was not present when the statements of Bikoy were being taken. I had no knowledge of any participation of [the] OSG, which was probably consulted by the CIDG after the statements were taken,” he said.
“It is perfectly normal for any government office to seek the advice [of] the OSG for correction of any legal matter in line with their work. There is nothing wrong nor sinister with that since the OSG is the lawyer of the government.”
Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra dismissed as “irrelevant” the question as to whether the OSG had a hand in the complaint.
“What is of utmost importance is whether or not the PNP-CIDG’s evidence will support its allegations and establish probable cause against all the respondents, regardless of who drafted the complaint-affidavit,” Guevarra said. —With a report from Leila B. Salaverria
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