DOJ nixes OSG bid to bring in more evidence in sedition case vs opposition
MANILA, Philippines — Department of Justice (DOJ) prosecutors has rejected the appeal of the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) to bring in more witnesses and additional evidence into the sedition case filed against some opposition figures, church leaders, and lawyers.
In a manifestation during Friday’s resumption of the preliminary investigation into the case filed by the Philippine National Police-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (PNP-CIDG), Assistant Solicitor General Angelita Miranda, lead counsel of the complainant, said that they would be filing additional evidence to support its sedition and other charges against those allegedly trying to topple the Duterte administration.
However, their appeal was turned down.
State prosecutor Olivia Torrevillas, who is heading the panel of prosecutors, said they relied on Miranda’s manifestation in the previous preliminary hearing that their complaint was already complete.
“So, the panel is no longer expecting any supplemental complaint or additional evidence, now you are saying that you will be submitting additional evidence, so if you will submit additional evidence,” Torrevillas said.
Miranda, during the proceedings, also said they want to add three more witnesses to testify in the case namely lawyer Jude Sabio, Perfecto Tagalog and Guillermina Lalic Barrido.
Sabio, according to Miranda, wrote a newspaper column claiming that “(former Senator Antonio) Trillanes (IV) and his cohorts” asked him be a lawyer for “Bikoy,” the hooded narrator in the controversial narcolist videos.
Miranda also asked the for the subpoena powers of the Department of Justice (DOJ) to summon Sabio but her motion was also denied.
Tagalog, meanwhile, earlier claimed that his accusation of rice smuggling against presidential son and Davao City Rep. Paolo Duterte was fabricated by the Trillanes.
Barrido filed a complaint accusing the former senator and three others, including Sabio, of kidnapping her and forcing her to sign a “ready-made affidavit to destroy the reputation of the present administration of President Rodrigo Duterte.”
Trillanes has denied the allegations.
The PNP-CIDG filed sedition and other cases against Vice President Leni Robredo and several others over the release of the controversial Bikoy narcolist videos that linked the relatives of President Rodrigo Duterte and some of his allies to the illegal drug trade.
The PNP-CIDG based its complaint on the affidavit of Peter Joemel Advincula who claims to be “Bikoy.”
Aside from Trillanes, among those named in the complaint are opposition Senators Leila de Lima and Risa Hontiveros, former senator Bam Aquino and members of the Otso Diretcho slate namely lawyers Chel Diokno, Romulo Macalintal, former Solicitor General Florin Hilbay, Samira Gutoc, and former lawmakers Erin Tañada and Gary Alejano.
‘Denial of due process’
“The complaint that we filed was complete at that point in time but they wanted to know the truth, and corroborate whom they say is a perjured witness, ito na ang mag-corroborate, ba’t ayaw nila?” Miranda told reporters in an interview after the preliminary investigation.
“This is denial of due process on our part, on the part of the government,” Miranda told reporters in an interview after the preliminary investigation,” she added.
“We’re going to file an appeal to the panel that we be given a right to file a reply affidavit, that is our right not to be denied due process,” she further said.
During the preliminary investigation, Miranda said they would submit a reply to the counter-affidavits filed by the respondents as it was their “right” to do so.
“We are manifesting…we have the right to submit a reply affidavit,” Miranda said.
But Assistant Prosecutor Gino Santiago said: “With respect to the manifestation of the Office of the Solicitor General that they will be filing a reply, please note that the filing of the reply is not a right of the complainant, we will not be entertaining any reply.”
Respondents Aquino, Gutoc, Trillanes have recently submitted their respective counter-affidavits where they denied such allegations against them and asked that the cases be dismissed. /muf
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