DOJ sets first hearing on sedition raps vs Leni et al.
The Department of Justice has set on Aug. 9 the first preliminary investigation hearing on the sedition and other cases filed by the Philippine National Police against Vice President Leni Robredo, Catholic prelates and other opposition politicians in connection with “The Real Narcolist” videos.
The panel, composed of state prosecutors Olivia Torrevillas, Michael John Humarang and Gino Paolo Santiago, started issuing subpoenas on Friday for the first hearing at 10 a.m. Aug. 9, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra told reporters.
“I assure everyone of utmost fairness in the resolution of this case. The evidence, or the lack of it, will speak for itself. In the ordinary course of things, the complaint shall be dismissed as to those respondents against whom no evidence is presented, while those against whom sufficient evidence is presented shall accordingly be indicted. Let’s wait until this process is completed,” Guevarra said.
The PNP-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) filed sedition, inciting to sedition, cyberlibel, libel, estafa, harboring a criminal and obstruction of justice against the respondents.
The case stemmed from the video series “The Real Narcolist,” narrated by Peter Joemel Advincula, alias “Bikoy,” who exposed the alleged involvement of President Duterte’s family and close allies in the illegal drug trade.
The CIDG said the videos were part of “Project Sodoma,” which aimed to discredit Duterte and spark mass protests that would lead to his resignation or ouster, leading to Robredo’s takeover as the new president.
Aside from Robredo, other respondents include Senators Risa Hontiveros and Leila de Lima; former senator Antonio Trillanes IV; Catholic bishops Socrates Villegas, Pablo Virgilio David, Honesto Ongtioco and Teodoro Bacani; former solicitor general Florin Hilbay; former congressmen Erin Tañada and Gary Alejano; and lawyers Jose Manuel “Chel” Diokno and Romulo Macalintal, among others.
Meanwhile, Solicitor General Jose Calida scored Hilbay for questioning the assistance his office gave to the CIDG in drafting Advincula’s affidavit, which is one of the bases of the case.
Calida, in a statement, said, “The OSG (Office of the Solicitor General) is firm with its earlier position that as statutory counsel of the government and all its agencies and instrumentalities, the OSG is well within the bounds of law in rendering legal services sought by PNP, its client agency.”
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