DOJ dismisses sedition raps vs Robredo, 2019 opposition bets
MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Justice (DOJ) has cleared Vice President Leni Robredo and members of the 2019 Senate opposition slate Otso Diretso of involvement in the “Ang Totoong Narcolist” videos.
Members of the Otso Diretso slate included in the complaint by the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) are former Magdalo party-list Representative Gary Alejano, former Senator Paolo Benigno “Bam” Aquino, former Solicitor General Florin Hilbay, Robredo’s election lawyer Atty. Romulo Macalintal, former Quezon Rep. Lorenzo Tañada III, Samira Gutoc-Tomawis and human rights lawyer Chel Diokno.
Aside from the Otso Diretso members, also cleared are Senator Leila de Lima, former Senator Risa Hontiveros, Archbishop Socrates Villegas, Bishop Pablo Virgilio David, Bishop Honesto Ongtioco, Bishop Teodoro Bacani Jr., Fr. Ruben Reyes, Brother Armin Luistro, human rights lawyer Theodore Te, former Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) national president Atty. Abdiel Dan Elijah Fajardo, IBP’s incumbent national president Atty. Domingo Egon Cayosa.
Also cleared are Atty. Minerva Ambrosio, Yolly Villanueva Ong, Danilo Songco, Atty. Philip Sawali and Atty. Serafin Salvador.
“The complaint filed by PNP-CIDG (Philippine National Police-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group) against all respondents were dismissed for lack of probable cause. But the Panel found that, based on the evidence presented, the eleven respondents can be charged with the crime of conspiracy to commit sedition,” Justice Undersecretary and DOJ Spokesperson Markk Perete said.
The resolution on the sedition complaint was released last Friday but the details were made public Monday.
The same resolution, however, recommended the filing of charges against former Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV, and 10 others who prepared and circulated the video.
Under the rules, resolutions of the panel of prosecutors can still be appealed before the DOJ secretary.
The complaints were filed by on July 18, 2019, by the Philippine National Police-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group-National Capital Region Field Unit (PNP-CIDG-NCRFU).
Based on the complaint, Peter Joemel Advincula, the self-proclaimed “Bikoy,” the hooded narrator in the video was allegedly engaged by the respondents for “Project Sodoma” to “spread lies against the President, his family and close associates and make them appear as illegal drug trade protectors who earned staggering amounts of money.”
The complaints also alleged that the circulation of the series of videos was a part of a destabilization plot meant to “to agitate the general population into staging mass protests with the possibility of bringing down the President from the position and allow Vice-President Robredo to instantly succeed” and “help bring down the popularity of the administration senatorial candidates and in turn boost the campaign of Otso Diretso candidates for the 2019 mid-term elections.”
Last September, the DOJ panel of prosecutors, led by Senior Assistant State Prosecutor Olivia Torrevillas has terminated the preliminary investigation on the complaint.
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