MANILA, Philippines – A Manila court has ordered the arrest of Peter Joemel “Bikoy” Advincula on charges of perjury filed by human rights lawyers whom he accused of being part of a plot to oust President Rodrigo Duterte.
“After personally evaluating the resolution of the prosecutor and the supporting documents attached to the information in this case, the Court finds probable cause to issue a warrant of arrest against the above-named accused, Peter Joemel Advincula,” read the order from Manila Metropolitan Trial Court Branch 17 Judge Immaculada Concepcion Ylagan-Galang
“Accordingly, let a warrant of arrest be issued against Peter Joemel Advincula,” read the court’s order.
The court sets Advincula’s bail at P18, 000.
Prosecutors have accused Advincula of making “untruthful statements under oath” when he claimed that lawyers Jose Manuel “Chel” Diokno, Lorenzo Tañada III and Theodore Te were part of Project Sodoma, a purported plot by the opposition to oust Duterte from power.
Advincula, the prosecutors said, “know well that said the material statement was false, thereby making a willful deliberate assertion of falsehood.”
The meeting Advincula mentioned was actually a senatorial forum at the Ateneo de Manila University.
“Clearly, such allegation in planning Project Sodoma at the Leung Hall of the Ateneo de Manila University campus is an outright lie and perjurious considering that they were there for the purpose of attending a debate entitled “The Leader I Want Senatorial Forum,” the resolution issued by DOJ Assistant State Prosecutor Ferdinand Fernandez said.
Fernandez added that Diokno and Tañada ‘s role in the supposed plot was not even specified.
“As far as complainants Diokno and Tañada are concerned, the allegations of Respondent Advincula against them [are] bereft of the truth,” he added.
As for Te, the prosecutor said he only met with Advincula because he received a message from the Free Legal Assistance Group (FLAG) of which he is a member that an individual wanted to ask for legal assistance.
Te said he did not know that Advincula was the “Bikoy” on a video called “Ang Totoong Narcolist” who accused Duterte’s family members of being linked to an illegal drug syndicate.
After meeting Advincula, Te told Diokno, who is the national chair of FLAG, of his reservations about the credibility of Advincula. Later, FLAG agreed not to represent Advincula.
“There was no further discussion on Respondent Advincula’s affidavit or any participation of complainant Te in the alleged Project Sodoma,” the prosecutor said.
The perjury charge was officially brought before the Manila court only on January 11 last, more than a year after Diokno, Te, and Tañada filed a complaint against Advincula.
The case is part of a sedition lawsuit filed by the PNP-CIDG against more than two dozen opposition figures, including Vice-President Leni Robredo and former Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV, religious leaders and human rights lawyers, in connection with the alleged plot against Duterte.
The PNP-CIDG complaint was mainly based on the Advincula affidavit.
The Department of Justice eventually dismissed most of the allegations against Robredo and the other personalities but filed charges for conspiracy to commit sedition against Trillanes and nine others.