By Hannah Torregoza
Senatorial aspirant Manuel “Chel” Diokno on Tuesday said the controversy surrounding the members of the Duterte family and the President’s allies, who were tagged as being involved in the illegal drug trade, can easily be put to rest if government agencies do their part in verifying the existence of the bank accounts that have been exposed by Peter Advincula, also known as “Bikoy” in the series of videos he uploaded on social media.
Diokno, who is running under the ‘Otso Diretso’ opposition coalition, made the statement as the Senate committee on public order and dangerous drugs, set its initial probe into Advincula’s “Totoong Narcolist” videos where he tagged members of President Rodrigo Duterte’s family and former presidential aide Christopher “Bong” Go in the alleged illegal drug trade.
“This issue can easily be put to rest if the government would simply verify the information. Right now allegations pa lang, but supposedly may documents siya,” Diokno said during the Manila Bulletin’s #MBHotSeat.
“The ones with capability to check those documents—kung genuine, kung talagang may bank accounts—would be our government agencies: the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC). We have enough legal framework for them to do that,” Diokno said.
Senator Panfilo “Ping” Lacson, chair of the public order panel, said his committee has sent a formal invitation letter to Advincula through the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) which he had earlier sought for legal assistance.
The hearing is scheduled on Friday, May 10, at 9:30 a.m.
“It will push through once ‘Bikoy’ confirms his attendance with a sworn statement ready,” Lacson said in a text message to reporters.
“In the meantime, we are doing some background investigation and record check on him,” the senator further said.
With this, Diokno said he believed authorities will have their work cut out for them.
“So if they want to put the issue to rest, it’s very easy: they verify with those banks. If they are really non-existent, then anong pinagsasabi niyan eh wala naman pala. So that is the very easiest way to put the issue to rest,” he said.
Diokno, a human rights lawyer, said government officials can use existing laws to verify the allegations Advincula made in the videos.
“You have for example the Human Security Act; there are provisions there that can be used by the DOJ that would supersede the confidentiality requirements,” he said.
“I understand the Ombudsman also would have the power and the capability to look into these accounts,” he pointed out.
Advincula, on Monday, surfaced at the IBP to reveal he is the elusive hooded figure in the “Totoong Narcolist” videos that are making the rounds in social media sites.
Advincula , who claims to have a personal knowledge of the allegations he made, said he was ready to face any investigation and is willing to testify in the Senate.
READ MORE: ‘Bikoy’ surfaces, seeks IBP’s help