Bikoy can’t be state witness – Tañada
MANILA, Philippines – Peter Joemel Advincula — who claims to be the “Bikoy” — cannot be a state witness in the sedition raps against Vice President Leni Robredo and 35 other individuals, according to former Deputy Speaker Erin Tañada.
In a statement on Thursday, Tañada, a lawyer by profession, insisted that Advincula cannot be admitted into the Department of Justice (DOJ) Witness Protection Program since he was already convicted of a crime that involves moral turpitude.
“We call on the Department of Justice to deny the application of Peter Joemel “Bikoy” Advincula into the Witness Protection Program (WPP). Legally he cannot be admitted to the WPP for being convicted of a crime involving moral turpitude,” the Liberal Party (LP) official said.
If the DOJ would allow Advincula to testify as a state witness, Tañada said it would bastardize the “mandate and essence of the government’s premier sanctuary for witnesses”
“The WPP is not for a person who makes up grave accusations against the President and his family first, and then changes his mind and makes up sedition allegations against the Vice President and opposition figures next,” he explained.
“How can we expect to believe that he will tell the truth after his made-up statements? The people’s money should not be spent on a notorious spinner of yarns,” he added.
The idea of Advincula being a state witness was recently raised by Philippine National Police (PNP) chief General Oscar Albayalde, who said that it would be better since government resources might be used to help the former.
The PNP’s Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) recently filed sedition complaints against Robredo, former and incumbent senators, former senatorial bets, members of the church and other legal minds for allegedly masterminding the Ang Totoong Narcolist videos.
However, Robredo also once thought of this scenario where Advincula would be under the WPP, while she was asking the government to investigate Advincula’s assertions.
The case banked heavily on the affidavit of Advincula, who claims to be Bikoy who accused President Rodrigo Duterte’s relatives and allies of involvement in the drug trade.
After the elections, however, Advincula was presented in a PNP press conference, accusing Robredo and others of using the video as a means to overthrow Duterte’s government in a plan called “Project Sodoma.”
Robredo’s camp has questioned the role of the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) in drafting the complaint after an ABS-CBN report traced the document to an OSG employee. However, both OSG and PNP-CIDG insisted that PNP’s consultation was not done irregularly.
Earlier, Robredo’s team has asked the DOJ to release other evidence in the sedition raps so that they can prepare and respond to the accusations mounted against her.
Tañada stressed that these complaints were merely intended to harass administration critics who have spoken out against President Rodrigo Duterte’s policies.
“We firmly maintain that the sedition charges against the Vice President and the other personalities are baseless and are being used only to harass, vilify, and intimidate the political opposition,” he said.
“We continue to stand by the Vice President as she faces these made-up charges for calling out the government on its mass murder of suspected drug users and its kowtowing to China,” he added.
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