Tañada: Law as a weapon won’t silence opposition
MANILA, Philippines–An opposition leader talked tough against the filing of a sedition case against key critics of President Rodrigo Duterte saying using the courts as a weapon by the Duterte administration would not silence Duterte’s critics.
“They are wrong” if the administration thought the opposition would turn quiet in the face of the sedition case, according to former representative Erin Tañada.
Tañada made the comment after the Department of Justice (DOJ) started the preliminary investigation of the sedition case against top opposition figures, led by Vice President Leni Robredo, and leaders of the Catholic Church.
They had been accused of involvement in the production and airing of the “Ang Totoong Narcolist” video series which linked members of Duterte’s family and close allies to the drug trade.
One alias “Bikoy,” who turned out to be alleged conman Peter Advincula was the narrator in the video.
Tañada said the sedition case was the biggest that the opposition collectively faced under Duterte.
Tañada, in a statement, said the case indiscriminately targeted those who criticize Duterte over exteajudicial killings, Duterte’s tight embrace of China and Duterte’s role in an attempt to paint the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos and his family as worthy of praise because of their service to the country.
Tañada also blasted the Office of the Solicitor’s (OSG) participation in the sedition case, noting that this was not the OSG’s first move to silence the opposition.
“The very actions of the Office of the Solicitor General, whose mandate is to be an independent and autonomous office, is condemnable,” he said.
“This is not even the first time the OSG has been involved in silencing critics,” Tañada said.
Tañada cited the quo warranto filed by OSG against former Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno as the first case that the Solicitor General “orchestrated” against critics.
The PNP-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) filed sedition, inciting to sedition, cyberlibel, libel, estafa, harboring a criminal and obstruction of justice against more than 30 respondents including opposition senatorial candidates.
The case stemmed from the six-part video series, narrated by Peter Joemel Advincula, who identified himself as “Bikoy,” who bared the alleged involvement of President Rodrigo Duterte’s family and close allies in the illegal drug trade. /tsb
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