By Raymund Antonio
Vice President Ma. Leonor “Leni” Robredo on Thursday led the opposition Liberal Party, of which she is chair, in denying an alleged plot to unseat President Rodrigo Duterte.
In an opening statement, Robredo said the LP had nothing to do with the destabilization plot, which was revealed by Peter Joemel Advincula, the man who claimed to be “Bikoy” in the controversial “Ang Totoong Narcolist” videos.
“Iyong Liberal Party, once again, nahila dito sa controversy. Gusto ko lang sabihin na I can speak for the party: Wala kaming kinalaman dito sa ‘Bikoy’ issue,” Robredo said.
(The Liberal Party, once again, was dragged into this controversy. I want to say I can speak for the party: We had nothing to do with this Bikoy issue.)
“Natanong ko na si Senator Kiko, na siya iyong party president, wala din siyang alam, hindi niya kilala, hindi pa niya nakausap. Kaya tingin ko unfair na isali ulit iyong LP dito,” she added.
(I asked Senator Kiko, who is the party president, he doesn’t know anything, he does not know him, he hasn’t spoken to him. So I think it’s unfair to drag again the LP on this.)
The Vice President, who is the opposition leader, made a strong stand they will not be cowed and intimidated if the accusations of Bikoy are meant to silence dissent.
“Iyong sa akin, kung ito ay harassment, kung ito ay ginagawang paraan para lalong yurakan at tapakan iyong Liberal Party o kaming nasa oposisyon, gusto ko lang sabihin sa ating mga kasama na hindi ito magiging dahilan para magpapatinag tayo. Hindi ito dahilan para huminto tayo sa pagpupuna kung may kailangan punahin,” she said.
(For me, if this is harassment, a way to further trample upon the Liberal Party or the opposition with disrespect, I want to tell our colleagues this is not a reason for us to stop from criticizing.)
After weeks of hiding, Advincula surrendered to police and walked back on his previous statement in the viral videos linking Duterte’s family to illegal drugs.
Advincula claimed opposition Senator Antonio Trillanes IV and the LP planned the videos as part of “Oplan Sonoma” to topple the Duterte administration and install Robredo as the new president.
He said that Robredo will appoint a certain congressman or senator to be the Vice President. Advincula added that Trillanes was in line to become VP. “‘Yun ang pinakaplano ng ‘Ang Totoong Narco-List (That’s the main plan of The Real Narco-list).’”
Advincula alleged that he had also seen Robredo herself in one of their meetings at Ateneo de Manila University.
The Vice President denied the allegation.
“Waste of time iyong pagpaplano para pabagsakin iyong administrasyon (It’s a waste of time to plan against the administration),” Robredo said in a televised press conference.
The opposition leader said she doesn’t know Advincula and they never met in person. She then questioned his credibility.
“Hindi ko siya kilala—never ko siyang nakausap, never ko siyang naka-text, never na nagkaroon ng communication between us (I don’t know him—I never talked to him, I never texted him, there was no communication between us),” said Robredo.
“Ang sigurado ko lang, na nagsisinungaling siya. Ang sigurado ko nagsisinungaling siya kasi dinamay niya iyong LP, na walang kinalaman. Sinabi niya iyong pangalan ko, na nagkita kami, na ni anino niya hindi ko talaga nakita,” she said.
(What I’m sure of is he is lying. I’m sure he is lying because he dragged the LP which had nothing do with it. He mentioned my name that we saw each other, but I haven’t really seen even his shadow.)