By Mario Casayuran
The Senate public order and dangerous drugs committee chaired by Senator Panfilo M. Lacson Tuesday set conditions before holding a public hearing on allegations by Peter Joemel Advincula, alias ‘’Bikoy,’’ linking the Duterte family and senatorial candidate Christopher Lawrence ‘’Bong’’ Go to the multi-billion-peso illegal drugs trade.
These conditions, according to Lacson, are for “Bikoy’’ to personally submit his sworn statement and pieces of evidence to support his accusations. Lacson noted that “Bikoy” has become a political – if not an election – issue.
He indicated one of the goals of the hearing would be to bolster proposed legislation providing heavier penalties against perjury, especially before congressional investigations.
An early hearing would provide the public a chance to see for themselves if the claims made by “Bikoy” have basis, Lacson said.
“In fairness to those ‘Bikoy’ linked to the drug trade, the hearing will allow the public to observe his demeanor and determine if his claims are true. And if his claims have basis, it will allow voters to reject those involved,” he said in a radio interview.
“Bikoy” must provide documents to support his claims, for evaluation by his committee, Lacson pointed out.
Lacson said only “Bikoy” – the hooded figure who appeared in a series of online videos linking members of the First Family to the drug trade – could substantiate such claims.
He said that while the Senate is willing to “accommodate” “Bikoy’s” accusations, it has to determine if such allegations have basis.
Last Monday, one Peter Joemel Advincula, claiming to be “Bikoy,” appeared at the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) where he read a statement before the media.
Lacson said the hearing might provide added inputs on legislation against perjury, especially in congressional investigations.
“I filed Senate Bill 253 to protect innocent people from being wrongly jailed or having their reputations suffer because of lying witnesses,” said Lacson, who himself had suffered from lying witnesses in the past.
Under his bill, which is pending before the Justice and Human Rights Committee chaired by Senator Richard J. Gordon, any person who shall give false testimony in any criminal case shall suffer the same penalty for the crime the defendant is being accused of.
A public officer or employee who orders such false testimony may suffer such penalty in its maximum period, along with a fine of up to P1 million, and perpetual absolute disqualification from holding any government position.
READ MORE: ‘Bikoy’ surfaces, seeks IBP’s help